What cartoon character was wearing a helmet

Caricature with message: Wear a helmet!

When there is a "crash", cycling accidents mainly affect the head in addition to the legs. A helmet prevents severe head injuries. Roland Breitenbach fell on a bike tour in the district in early October 2014 without any outside interference. The pastor of St. Michael suffered most of all Life-threatening head injuries. Breitenbach did not wear a helmet. Today he would always put a lid on, he says.

Caricature with a smile chractor is intended to encourage wearing a helmet

This accident and a second incident now animated the well-known Schweinfurt artist Heinz A. Böhm to create a cartoon with a smiley character, with which he primarily wants to convey the message: People, wear a helmet so that you don't end up like the one who has luckily recovered Pastor. According to Böhm, a caricature might encourage more cyclists to buy a helmet.

The artist depicts Breitenbach with a head bandage. He has placed a few avowed cyclists next to the pastor. First these three cyclists: theater director Christian Kreppel, deaconry chief Jochen Keßler-Rosa and Tagblatt editor Hannes Helferich. The selection criterion for Böhm was that all three had decided on a striking helmet model in the signal color orange, which is more likely to be assigned to younger contemporaries.

That too has a story: just a few days after the terrible Breitenbach accident, the author collided with another cyclist through no fault of his own. The crash prompted the immediate purchase of a helmet. The saleswoman dispelled his concerns in the bike shop that the orange special offer was a model preferred by young skaters.

Three orange helmets drive through the city

Days later, the author met the evangelical pastor, who had been wearing a helmet until then, and who was just as pleased with the conspicuous part as the theater director with the helmet by Keßler-Rosa a little later. The message from the three orange helmet wearers landed at Böhm, who now saw the time for the caricature.

Böhm and Breitenbach, too, regret that the “man of God did not put on his helmet that day”. So the pastor was in possession of a helmet and only drove topless at the time.

Böhm's message - wearing a helmet - in the form of the caricature, the draftsman added a fifth man. Why? With a friend, Böhm had exchanged ideas about the Big Five by chance. This is how big game hunters called elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion and leopard in Africa. Böhm thought it was funny and chose the no less well-known cyclist, St. Josef chief physician and Harmonie chairman Georg Lippert as the fifth animal. That, in turn, had to do with his extravagant head protection: this “strange part, which is more reminiscent of a steel helmet”, he had long wanted to caricature, laughs Böhm.

The ADFC also recommends head protection when cycling in Schweinfurt city and country

Last part of the story: In order to get the message “wearing a helmet” to the wider public, the Big Five was now ready to recreate the caricature with a live photo. All the protagonists are of the opinion that a helmet on your head is necessary when cycling, while skiing is normal today.

Do the experts say that too? The board member in the district association of the General German Bicycle Club, Martin Dettmar, first describes the legal situation: In Germany, helmets are not mandatory for cyclists. He calls the demands for such an unsuitable because all experts and the federal government have long agreed that an obligation can neither be enforced nor controlled. It would drastically reduce the use of bicycles in order to increase car traffic. That is neither environmentally nor health-politically responsible.

So helmets should always be worn voluntarily and parents should set a good example. Because: Children up to the age of twelve must wear a helmet (also applies to transport in a bicycle trailer or the child in a bicycle seat).

The ADFC nevertheless takes the view that a general reduction in the risk of accidents for cyclists should primarily be achieved through (more) cyclist-friendly traffic planning. In the Breitenbach accident, a curb that was too high was probably the cause, says Dettmar. In inhabited areas, serious accidents could be avoided by speed limits, which is now possible.

The ADFC board member is a helmet wearer himself and says that good bicycle helmets have prevented serious head injuries in many accidents. For cycling in Schweinfurt and in the district, he recommends wearing a helmet when cycling. "Because unfortunately there are still many bike paths that do not meet today's recommendations for safe cycling facilities," explains Dettmar.

Finale: Böhm refuses to say which animal he assigns to which of the Big Five. The artist also recalls that he owns the copyright of the caricature. It can be purchased from him.

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