Riding a motorcycle at any speed can still present dangers no matter how good of a rider you are. It may not be you that causes an accident, but let’s face it, it does happen. Also, as motorcycles are smaller and more nimble than 4 wheel vehicles, it is important to be fully aware of your surroundings every time you jump on your bike.
Through motorcycle helmet safety, there are ways that you can minimize getting hurt any time you go for a ride. Apart from having the skill and road knowledge to ride a bike, one of the most obvious ways to protect yourself before even getting onto your bike is putting on your helmet and durable riding gear.
This may sound bleak but, last year there were in excess of 4,500 motorcycle fatalities and 55,000 serious injuries recorded in the US. Obviously helmets do not prevent crashes but they do reduce the risk of bad injuries and death.
Analysis from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) indicated that helmet use consistently has been shown to reduce motorcycle crash-related injuries and deaths. With motorcyclists being 16% more likely to die in a road crash than the driver of an automobile, wearing a helmet reduces this risk by a staggering 29%.
The reality is, head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes, and riders who experience a crash are 40% more likely to sustain a fatal head injury. A study conducted by the University of Southern California showed that wearing a helmet was the single most critical factor in preventing or reducing head or bad neck injuries among motorcyclists and passengers.
Then there are the extra hospital costs for non-helmet wearing riders. Studies have shown that hospitalization costs are higher for motorcyclists who have not worn a helmet compared to those who have worn a helmet in an accident. When comparing hospital costs of helmeted and unhelmeted motorcyclists involved in crashes, these studies have found costs for unhelmeted riders were $3000 more than for helmeted riders. Then, to compound this injury, a health insurance policy may be challenged by the insurance company if the rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident.
There have been many arguments about helmets potentially impairing the vision, or reducing the hearing capacity of a motorcycle rider. Some have even claimed that a helmet itself can cause injuries. Studies across the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Japan have shown how effective helmets are in preventing deaths and serious brain trauma and injuries. Regarding vision, all Snell, DOT and ECE certified and rated helmets provide a field of vision of 210 degrees which is well above the standard 140 degrees that state driver licensing agencies use to identify vision problems.
According to the US Department of Transportation, a rider with a helmet on can hear as clearly as a rider without a helmet on. In fact, a rider not wearing a helmet will have to contend with the sound of the wind and their bike engine. With a helmet on, the surrounding sounds are quieter but in equal proportion. This means that what can be heard over wind and engine noise without a helmet, can also be heard in the same way with a helmet since wind and engine noise will also be reduced. In short, the signal and noise ratio stays the same.
It is interesting to note that most motorcycle crashes do not involve a rider crashing head-on into a fixed object, but rather a rider travelling at 25-30 mph who strikes the pavement or other surface at an angle. Helmet safety performance criteria established by the U.S. Department of Transportation are based, in part, on crash data demonstrating what typically happens to motorcyclists in actual crashes. Helmets are tested at a 13.3 mph vertical drop to simulate the types of angle impacts that occur at much higher speeds. Crash data confirms that helmets are very effective in preventing head injuries in crashes at speeds greatly exceeding 13 mph.Finally, apart from the rider who is in control of the motorcycle, it is equally important that any passenger on a bike should wear a helmet. There is no crash-immunity in being behind a rider on a bike during an accident. There will be an equal impact experienced due to the proximity of the rider and passenger. There is no ‘get-out-of-goal’ card here. The smart thing to do is for anyone being on a motorcycle, put on a helmet before the bike is started.
If you are riding with children, there are now helmets that will fit them perfectly. Right now, the are many youth helmets to choose from including full face and full coverage helmets to sports helmets. G-MAX GM49Y is one of the most purchased boys helmets, with the girls – the Youth Full-Faced helmet is proving to be very popular. When it comes to riding with children,there is legislation about the age a child should be to be a passenger, so be sure to check this out with your local traffic authorities.
We hope you have a fantastic time riding and, we want you to do so for a long time as we know the joy it brings. That is why we recommend you take the precautions and care you need to keep you safer on the roads.
Whether you are going out for a short or a long ride, protect your head by wearing a helmet because your head, neck, brain and life matters. Enjoy the ride!