‘I’m still here’: La Crosse man survives severe bike accident by wearing his helmet

La Crosse bicyclist warns others to wear their helmets when they ride

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Bike helmets cut people’s chances of getting hurt in an accident almost in half. However, a lot of people don’t wear them, and most of them are children. A La Crosse man hopes his experience will inspire more people to strap on their helmets.

The thrill of mountain biking can only be described by the daredevils who ride La Crosse’s steep trails.

“The adrenaline of almost missing a tree,” said Joshua Hardy, a Richland Center, Wis., native who now lives in La Crosse. “It’s a lot of fun but it’s really dangerous.”

Sometimes those thrilling rides result in a 911 call. Hardy is a husband, and father of three children ages 8, 6, and 4. La Crosse Fire Department’s bluff rescue team took Hardy out of the woods on an ATV Saturday night.

“It was quite the journey,” Hardy said.

Fortunately, Hardy is still here to tell you about Saturday night himself.

“I must be built well,” he said.

Saturday night is something Hardy will remember for a long time.

“I couldn’t move any part of my body,” he said.

Gundersen Health System doctors kept a careful eye on Joshua’s injuries.

“Broke a section in my neck,” he said.

What’s more miraculous is what Joshua did Tuesday. He stood up and walked, preparing to go home.

“I’m still here,” Hardy said. “And I’m gonna be okay. That’s a miracle really.”

P Bluff Rescue

All because he wore one common piece of bike equipment that often fails to pass as a fashion statement.

“Split in half,” Hardy said, showing his damaged bicycle helmet. “That would have been my head.”

Gundersen injury prevention specialist Megan Anderson said May is a good reminder for people and children to wear helmets.

“We know that properly fitted bike helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by at least 45 percent,” Anderson said.

Hardy understood what could have happened if he had ventured out that night without his helmet.

“If I wasn’t wearing my helmet, I’d either be a vegetable or in the ground,” Hardy said.

He wants to make the most of his second chance and join a team like the one that rescued him.

“I just put in my application today to be an EMT,” he said.

This helmet keeps a family together because Hardy chose to experience his thrill with his chinstrap buckled.

“My kids are my life,” he said. “They’re all that matters to me.”

Children ages 5 to 14 make up only 14 percent of the population but account for over half of all bicycle injuries according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Gundersen experts say parents should practice wearing their helmets to set a good example for children.