Motorcycle helmet safety becomes a great issue. It has always been said that ‘Better safe than sorry'. I cannot agree more. Every day we wake up to news of terrible road accidents that claim loss of lives in dozens and millions annually. The statistics for these deaths are worrying. Most motorcycle riders have at one time found themselves in trouble or in accidents either minor or major. While riding can be a pleasurable experience, it can also prove to be dangerous if not well prepared for. We are all witnesses to casualties arising from road accidents.
Realistically, it is not possible to have zero road accidents; however, we can considerably reduce them. One of the ways to do this is by focusing on personal safety. That's why a helmet to ‘keep your wits together' is important before you sit astride that motorbike. The helmet protects the head against injury in case of impact during accidents. Head injuries can result in brain damage, paralysis or even death. Riding is often associated with speeding and hence the more reason to be very cautious while on the road.
Most countries in the world have made it mandatory for a rider to wear a helmet. It is not merely enough to wear a helmet, it is important to confirm that your helmet meets the set safety standards. Most countries have specifications for helmets. A helmet is only certified after conforming to various tests. These include testing for impact management and how well the helmet can withstand force on impact, how well the helmet covers the rider, the durability of the straps and how secure the helmet will sit on the riders head during impact. The helmets should have the certification labeled and on display for a rider to consider before purchase. The rider should also consider the following while using a helmet.
It is important because the wrong size could actually end up in a fatality. Imagine riding downhill at a speed of 200kph with a loose fitting helmet and bang! It comes off right in the middle of the hill hindering your vision. That would be disastrous. A loose fitting helmet will also distract you from the road if you have to keep adjusting and fastening it. A smaller helmet will also make you uncomfortable and leave most of your head exposed and at risk in case of impact. Choose the correct size for your head and consider kids helmets in case of riding with children.
The helmet must meet the minimum safety standards: It must have a sticker/mark confirming the same. Check out the helmets ability to withstand penetration from a sharp object upon impact. The helmet's straps must be strong enough to stay in place without stretching or breaking with time. The helmet provider must take into account the peripheral vision. The helmet must also be lightweight enough to keep the rider comfortable even when in use for long hours. The helmet must have a retroreflective material. It is also preferable to use bright colored helmets for more visibility to other road users.
When purchasing a helmet, it is wise to consider whether the visor will withstand all kinds of weather. Ensure that the visor has a sun-shield for protection in sunny weather. The visor should be clear during foggy and misty weather. Naturally, rain is also unavoidable and unpredictable. The visor should be able to close tightly all around and be able to keep rain out and protect the rider from getting wet.
There are different types of helmets and it is advisable to consider safety first before choosing the helmet to purchase or wear. The full face helmet is the most protective since it covers the whole face. This takes care of your eyes keeping out the draft, the insects, dust etc from your eyes and in some cases from the suns UV rays. A full-face helmet also protects you from constant wind whipping up your ears. The three quarter and half helmets may not protect your whole head and chin and will not be of much use in case of accidents, in extreme cases these helmets may come off leaving your head exposed.
Just like our bodies need proper care, it is advisable to maintain the helmet in proper condition so that it can give us good service. The inner fabric is removable and washable and should be cleaned regularly. It is also advisable to check out if the visor has dust and fog which will block vision. The visor should be wiped often inside and out to maintain a clear vision. While storing the helmet, ensure that it is free from fumes by placing it far from the fuel tank or the exhaust pipe. It can be suspended from a rack or placed on a clean flat surface.
‘Nothing lasts forever', not even the helmet. Naturally, the helmet will deteriorate in quality due to time and wear. This could be due to accidents, scratches, smudges, and cracks on the face visor during impact. The chin straps may sometimes become loose with time and reduce their usefulness in securing the rider.
Often times we ignore small issues that may end up in accidents and fatalities. With proper adherence to road safety rules, the phrase ‘I wish I knew' would not occur anywhere in our vocabulary. Aside from the helmet, while embarking on your riding journey, wear proper riding gear, that is, jacket, boots, gloves, goggles, and earphones.
Check also the motorcycle vitals, brake, clutch, fuel, tires, and be sure that they are in order. When riding with passengers, it is advisable that they all wear helmets including children. We may be lucky to escape injuries by luck, but it's a fact that some may not survive it. Road safety starts with you and me, and the sooner we start taking responsibility for ourselves and others, the sooner we will slay this road accidents dragon.