Beware the brain suckers: Check your bike helmets |

Beware the brain suckers: Check your bike helmets

Andrew Gmerek

They’re back. Those slimy, brain-sucking space aliens have invaded Summit County again this spring. They are insidious, sneaky and dangerous. Don’t be fooled.

They might look like “bicycle helmets ” but some of us know better.

It happens this way. Hordes of these aliens, looking all pod-like, fall from the mother ship stationed in outer space and land on the heads of bicycle riders and skateboarders recreating throughout the High Country. Then these nasty little creatures use their chin-strap-like appendages to lock onto the unwary cyclist’s head. It’s then these creatures unfold their brain sucking tentacles and begin to feed, sucking brain and gobbling up common sense from their poor, hapless victims.

If you don’t believe me, then tell me why cyclists do incredibly stupid things on the road. It just has to be aliens eating their brains because nobody is that stupid.

What person with a whole, uneaten frontal lobe would zigzag in and out of traffic in Breckenridge or Frisco wearing nothing more than a plastic helmet to protect them? What whole-minded person would pass traffic on the left and blow through stop signs in front of vehicles that outweigh them by about 30,000 pounds? What person in his or her right mind would believe motorists in Summit County are actually paying attention to their driving?

We all know there are times visitors don’t know where they are headed, spend most of their time staring at the mountains and 99 percent of the time treat High Country roads like their own driveways.

These people are known for making U-turns in the middle of Main Street, cutting across three lanes of traffic to make a turn and stopping in the middle of the road to dial their cell phones. So why would anyone traveling on a bike assume the guy in the car next to him or her is paying attention to something as easy to miss as a bicycle?

Yet, year after year, even though there are hundreds of well-maintained bike paths and bike lanes in Summit County, there are inevitably hundreds of cyclists swerving in and out of traffic at the worst of times.

And the stupidity doesn’t stop there. When skateboarders, riding vehicles without any kind of brakes, join in the fray it gets scary. I’ve seen numerous boarders turn narrow, congested, tourist-filled streets into their private skateboard parks, and it surprises me that sometimes the front page of the Summit Daily News isn’t crammed with stories of squashed boarders and pictures of twisted skateboards.

Something is definitely slurping the brains out of these people.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Many cyclists and skateboards know how to ride safely. They follow the rules of the road and show respect for other riders and drivers. And I’m even more courteous to cyclists after spending several years in Europe with a bike as my only means of transportation. But, people have to remember they are sharing the road and therefore they have to be responsible for their actions. If they are going to skip stop signs, pull out in front of traffic without looking or ride skateboards down the center of Main Street in Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne or Dillon, odds are they will eventually get hurt.

As for me, this summer I plan on saving as many cyclists and skateboarders as I can. So don’t be surprised if sometime you see me on the side of the road beating one of them over the helmet with a big stick. I’ll just be trying to free his mind from the grip of the alien invader, and trust me, I won’t be getting any joy from the experience.

Andrew Gmerek is a weekly columnist for the Summit Daily News.

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