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The Motorcycle Helmet You Want May Not Be As Safe As You Think!

By Michael Holmes

Choosing the right Motorcycle helmet can make a difference….

….literally between life and death. But how does an ordinary guy in the street make an informed decision about what kind of helmets give the best protection? There are so many makes, models and styles. Not to mention DOT approved, Snell approved, ECE approved! It is enough to make you go goggle eyed when confronted with so much information.

Tests have shown that it is perfectly possible to suffer a fatal injury falling off a stationary bike if you hit your unprotected head on the kerb, so clearly choosing the right helmet is important.

But which one?

Wouldn’t it be easier if someone just said, “Look, when you are in a crash, you need to protect this part of you head, because this is the part that is most likely to get hurt”…

Well that’s what I thought. But it wasn’t that easy. The kind of information you need to make that kind of call requires someone, somewhere to look at a whole bunch of motorcycle crashes, look at the motorcycle helmet damage, assess where point of impact occurred and put the information into a form that allows ordinary motorcyclists (like you and me) to make a decision for themselves.

However, the good news is that if you look hard enough, the information is available. A study was carried out a few years ago by Deitmar Otte, at the Medizinsche Hochschule in Hannover, Germany on the damage incurred to helmets worn by motorcyclists involved in accidents. His analysis was extremely detailed; in fact it was far to detailed for me to go into here, but it was extremely important.

What I am going to do is tell you in a nutshell, what parts of your head are most likely to be hurt in a motorcycle accident, based on Herr Otte’s findings. The rest is up to you…

Take a motorcycle helmet and look at it from the front. Now imagine it is divided into three sections; the top (the cranium area) the middle (the area most likely covered by the visor) and the bottom (on a full face helmet, this would be the chin guard area). If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, and you hit your head you would have a 35% chance of the impact occurring to your chin area, 10% to your visor area, and 22% chance of the impact occurring to your front cranium area.

Now turn the helmet around. Looking at it from the back, divide it in two down the middle. In an accident, if you hit you head, you have a 16% chance of impact occurring on the back of you head to the left side, and a 17% chance of impact occurring on the back right side.

Conclusion? Well, this is only my personal conclusion but I would say the following…

The safest helmets are full face helmets…

Second would be three quarter helmets with visors…

Third would be half helmets…

Last would be novelty helmets.

There are lots of reasons people wear helmets. However, if safety is you main consideration, then take a good look at the full face helmets on the market, take some time and find one which you can wear comfortably on every ride.

Michael Holmes is a enthusiast for all thing motorcycle. His website, http://www.motorcycleparts- accessories-andmore.com, is a great resource of articles aimed at motorcyclists of all levels, including a page specifically for motorcycle helmets.



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