Photo by Ashley Golden
You Only Got One Head, or YOGOH, is a student-founded organization dedicated to promoting bike safety and the use of bike helmets.
The organization started after third-year sociology major Tiffanie Schang was hit on her bike, without a helmet, by a drunk driver who didn’t see her. In total, her injuries included a broken tooth, leg injury and head trauma. Due to the head trauma, Schang suffers chronic headaches when exercising.
Following the accident, she and four other students, Jeff Gilder, Rachel Daar, Fernando Amendola and Manda LaPort, founded YOGOH.
“It really sucks to be in the hospital for a head injury and know that you could’ve done something to prevent it,” said Schang.
The organization is meant to help students who are victims to bike accidents almost daily in Isla Vista.
YOGOH’s vision is “to decrease the negative stigma associated with wearing a helmet on campus, and increase the number of riders who feel comfortable practicing safe bicycle habits,” said co-founder and fourth-year psychology major Jeff Gilder.
Schwag emphasizes that it is important for students to understand that while they may be competent bikers, accidents are called accidents for a reason.
The YOGOH website states “the human body was created to sustain running and walking injuries, not injuries created from technological development like bikes and cars,” and when involved in a traumatic head accident, without the aid of a helmet to absorb the shock, the brain smacks against the inside of the skull with more force than it was meant to sustain.
YOGOH members realize they face a huge challenge in combating the very ingrained culture at University of California Santa Barbara of not wearing a helmet and negatively viewing students who do. Ideally, they seek to change the norm so helmets are commonplace on campus, viewed as fashionable and accessible, or at the very least not a source of collegiate scorn.
The Nutcase helmet company donated seven stylish helmets to the group, as well as bracelets, pins and stickers that say “I love my brain”. Associated Students has also donated AS B.I.K.E.S. stickers and bike lights. The bicycle paraphernalia is given out as prizes when the group tables, when students can take pictures in the new helmets.
YOGOH recently held a contest where people submitted their best helmet photo. Prizes included an iPod nano, a blender, a chocolate gift basket, iHome speakers and Cheesecake Factory gift cards. With the chic gear and good prizes, YOGOH hopes to encourage the growth of helmet-wearing culture.
For more information, visit their website at www.yogoh.org.