As a bike rider, you’re no doubt already aware that the safety of you and your motorcycle is of course paramount. Therefore, you conduct frequent check ups and repairs on your motorbike, exercise alertness when out riding, have the security of thorough motorcycle insurance coverage and wear correct protective apparel. Most critical of all when it comes to protective wear is of course a good quality helmet, which will help to protect you against possible head injuries as well as safeguard your head and face from the wind, cold, insects and flying objects.
It is a legal requirement to wear a helmet, but for your own protection it is not adequate to don simply any old helmet. Accidents are sadly a very genuine possibility regardless of how carefully and sensibly you ride, as demonstrated by Department for Transportation statistics showing 21,550 reported bike casualties in 2008, and in the event of an accident your helmet could be the difference between life and death. Thus, it is imperative that you outfit yourself with a regulation helmet that is in excellent condition and fits properly.
For maximum protection against severe head or facial injuries, and to make sure your motorbike insurance is not rendered invalid, your helmet should meet the acceptable standards. This means a helmet that carries a BSI kitemark indicating compliance with British Standard BS 6658:1985, a UN E mark indicating compliance with UNECE Regulation 22.05 or a mark indicating compliance with a standard set by other European Economic Area countries that has the protection equivalence of BS 6658:1985.
A regulation good quality helmet will be made with glass fibre, Kevlar or polycarbonate, and any of them are acceptable. Glass fibre helmets are heavier and last longer than polycarbonate helmets, while Kevlar helmets provide a combination of tough strength and light weight. To help choose the kind that’s right for you, try on several brands and models to ascertain which fits best and is most comfortable. Full face helmets are recommended since they protect the face as well as head, although riders who feel hemmed in by full face helmets may choose to wear open face ones with goggles, bearing in mind though that in an accident the face and chin will not be protected.
Aside from reducing the severity of head and facial injuries, a good quality helmet may additionally help reduce the risk of accidents in the first place by reducing distractions. If the helmet is good quality it is likely to fit better and more comfortably than a poor quality helmet, which is essential since an ill fitting helmet isn’t going to offer enough protection in the event of a crash, and an uncomfortable helmet will spoil the enjoyment of your ride and disturb your concentration. The padding in a quality helmet will help to block out wind noises as you ride, cutting down on that distraction, and if it is a full face helmet you will have the additional advantage of keeping other distractions such as the wind and bugs from blowing in your face.
Avoid using 2nd hand helmets or helmets that have already sustained a knock, as there is little point in wearing a good quality helmet if it isn’t in perfect condition. Also, never use a bicycle helmet as a substitute for a motorbike helmet.
In summary, do not scrimp when it comes to your safety and protection. When you spend the money on a good quality helmet, you do so in the knowledge that it has been through exacting safety tests to make sure that it offers maximum protection, unlike cheaper helmets that perhaps have not met the same level of safety test standards. You can then ride your motorbike with the conviction that you have safeguarded yourself with the best protection possible.
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