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This article was published on August 29th, 2019
A motorcycle helmet is an integral piece of equipment for any motorcyclist and it has the potential to be the difference between life and death. With Brake the road safety charity reporting that motorcyclists are 63 times more likely to be seriously injured compared to drivers of cars, it’s essential that motorcyclists have the correct safety equipment to keep them safe.
However, a motorcycle helmet is not only a vital way of protecting your face, head and brain, it is also a means of expressing yourself as a motorcyclist, with a wide variety of styles, colours and shapes available.
Whilst helmet designs can range from conservative styles to more outlandish fashion statements, one thing is certain when it comes to motorcyclists choosing their perfect helmet, they should never opt for a ‘vintage’ or second-hand helmet.
Whilst a vintage helmet may be a collector’s perfect item, it is something that a motorcyclist who is looking to protect themselves should avoid as motorcycle helmets degrade over time and lose their effectiveness.
The general consensus among both manufacturers and industry leaders is that motorcyclists should change their helmet every 5 years under normal circumstances. However, there are several reasons why a helmet may need replacing before the suggested 5 years and not all of them include visible damage to the helmet itself.
Below we have outlined some instances when you may need to consider replacing your helmet before 5 years have passed.
It may sound obvious but you should always replace your helmet if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident. It’s surprising how many motorcyclists who are involved in minor accidents fail to replace their helmets. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, your helmet may be compromised even if it shows no sign of damage externally.
Whilst you may feel that it’s not worth replacing the helmet because there are no signs of damage to the naked eye, it’s worth remembering that a helmet could save your life and if there is any chance that your safety might be compromised, it’s better to purchase a new one to ensure you are properly protected on future rides.
Similarly to a minor accident, dropping your helmet can damage it much more than it may appear on the surface. Even a minor crack can mean your helmet is unable to disperse the energy of another impact properly and could lead to a much more severe head or brain injury than the type of injury that may have been suffered, had the helmet been in full working order.
Our friends at Pidcock Motorcycles have extensive expertise in all types of motorcycle safety equipment including motorcycle helmets and they highlighted that it’s essential that you have a helmet that fits correctly. A poorly fitted helmet that may cost £1,000 is less effective than one that has been fitted by a professional that costs much less.
James Dempsey who is a member of the Pidcock Motorcycles team highlights how important finding the right fit is, saying:
“With helmets being a compulsory item we tend to sometimes think of them as a necessary evil, instead of a crucial piece of kit. But and it’s a big but, they are without a doubt the most significant piece of safety kit we as bikers rely on and not always for the obvious reasons.
A comfortable, relaxed rider is the safest rider; now think about that helmet that always gave you a headache when you wore it, the “old faithful” favourite helmet that had no cushioning left and rattled around as you rode or the visor that was so scratched the street lights looked like the bridge of the starship Enterprise at warp factor!
Now remember the last time you put a brand new helmet on, how comfortable it was and how easy to concentrate it became when you weren’t being distracted by a headache, buffeting or that previously mentioned disco light display.
One of the main reasons all the top players in the motorcycle helmet game refuse to warranty products past 5 years is the unfortunate tendency of polystyrene to absorb moisture, and the degradation of its performance once this has happened.
The best example I have been given of this (and one I have shamelessly stolen and used to this day) is as follows – remember the last time you purchased a large electrical appliance, the chances are it arrived packaged in a fair amount of polystyrene to protect it from shock in transit and like most people you were probably more interested in the appliance than the packaging which was thrown in the loft, shed, garage, spare room or similar to be disposed of at a later date.
Then at some point in the future (a couple of years later normally) you finally get round to getting rid of it, and as you pick it up that once solid formed piece of squeaky white polystyrene instantly transforms into a wave of small massively annoying white balls that go everywhere.
Now substitute the electrical appliance for your head, the polystyrene in your motorcycle helmet is there for exactly the same reason. To protect your head from shock, but it absorbs moisture just the same too. And chances are it lives in the same loft, shed, garage, spare room or similar but on a regular basis has to contend with all manner of sweat, grease, rain, makeup and protect your movie star features from flies and debris as your having a ball riding down the road. Now, how appealing is that 7 year old helmet that you’ve just dusted off after not riding over winter?
And remember folks an ill-fitting £1,000 lid is no better than a correctly fitting £200 example if it isn’t right it won’t be able to do its job.”
As James highlights, when you are wearing your helmet it should fit snuggly and there shouldn’t be any room for movement. If your helmet is loose-fitting it dramatically reduces its effectiveness should you be involved in a motorcycle accident.
Ensuring you have a professional assist you when selecting the right helmet for you can help ensure you are as protected as possible and could potentially save your life.
Unfortunately, even if you take every precaution and ensure you have a reliable and perfectly fitted motorcycle helmet, accidents can still happen and you may be involved in a motorcycle accident.
Our specialist motorcycle solicitors are experts in their field and share a passion for motorcycles. They can assist with every step of the claims process, ensuring your recovery is the main focus of the claim, as well as assisting you to pursue financial compensation and providing both you and your family with the support you may need during the claim and beyond.
Our team pride themselves on working with some of the leading motorcycle safety organisations and rehabilitative charities in the UK, helping them to better understand the needs of motorcyclists and their families following an accident.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident and believe the fault lies with someone else, our team can help. You can arrange your free initial consultation with a member of our motorcycle accident team, who will take the opportunity to get to know you as well as the circumstances surrounding your claim, before advising you on the next steps you should take.
To arrange your free initial consultation please call 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be able to arrange a call at a time that is more suitable for you.