Crash helmet crisis
TXT: YOSS PHOTO: ROLANDO PUJOL Y RÓMULO SANS
For many years, the Cuban Highway Code didn’t insist on the obligatory wearing of helmets by motorcyclists. Havana’s wannabe Hell’s Angels rode heedlessly at full throttle with the wind in their hair.
Things changed in 2006. Now the traffic police impose relentless fines on any motorized centaur who dares to drive around without a lifesaving helmet.
But the hardy, sophisticated and recommended fibreglass helmets are hard to find and, what’s more, expensive. So what’s to be done?
Once again, Cuban inventiveness has come up with answers. We’ve got to wear helmets? So be it. Any old helmet. It could be a workman’s hard hat or a baseball player’s cap. The field of sports seems to provide endless opportunities: some people have unearthed old Russian hockey helmets and light cyclists’ helmets abound. People have even ransacked their children’s toy chests to sport anachronistic Viking or crusader helmets.
It’s a carnival of helmets on wheels and that’s all it takes to convince yourself that if there is a surplus of anything in Cuba, it’s ideas. Not exactly bad ideas either...
+ information pág. 84-85 The H Book 2007 08