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Check yourself  before you wreck yourself

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In Chicago, a Divvy is a bike. Across the pond in the U.K., it’s an insult thrown down to point out an idiot, which includes the helmetless cyclist.

Last year in Chicago there were 7,415 cyclists involved in accidents, according to the city’s bike crash report. Of the 29 fatalities, only one person was wearing a helmet.

Nic Patrie, a six-year veteran of Village Cycle Center’s sales force who commutes 8 miles by bike, recognizes that Chicago is evolving into a world-class bicycle-friendly city. And while the community is coming into its own, it doesn’t negate the need to be protected.

“Not everyone knows how to share the road yet,” he said.

Village Cycle, at 1337 N. Wells, sells an array of helmets, including a version by Giro called the Reverb for $65.

New-to-the-street bikers who take the popular bike-sharing service Divvy Bikes need to consider preparation is key, even when taking an impromptu ride. That means buying a helmet that fits into your routine and clips onto your commuting gear.

For those who prefer a fashionable alternative, there’s an airbag helmet by Hovding, a Swedish firm. The designer piece, which sells for $533 and poses as a scarf, deploys as an inflatable helmet upon impact.

“A Divvy bike is heavier, more stable and not that fast of a bike, so most people assume they don’t need a helmet,” Patrie said. “If you are inclined to use a Divvy, you should be prepared to ride.” — Meg Moore

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