An informed choice for your next motorcycle helmet
Information on motorcycle helmet styles and safety perfromance is a bit of a "thing" with me. This is an article Iwrote a while back which really states what we all know, but sometimes chose to ignore...
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
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
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