When a motorcycle rider is involved in a traffic accident involving another vehicle, that rider is at risk for severe injury. A previous post discusses the types of injuries that riders often suffer from. However, there are ways that riders and passengers can protect themselves and one of these ways is the use of a good motorcycle helmet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wearing a proper motorcycle helmet can help to lower the risk of a head injury in a motorcycle accident by up to 69 percent and death by as much as 42 percent.
Ultimate Motorcycling magazine states that the federal government has established a standard for motorcycle helmet design, and helmets that fail to meet that standard will not receive certification from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those helmets that are granted approval are affixed with permanent labels indicating that they comply with DOT standards and that they provide three primary functions:
- Protection from penetration — In testing, a mockup of a human head called a headform is placed inside the helmet and a piercing object called a striker is dropped on the helmet. If the striker manages to make contact with the headform, the helmet fails.
- Protection from impact — Headform acceleration is measured at impact to make sure it stays below a specific amount when the helmet is dropped from a certain height.
- Retention on the head — Weight is applied to the helmet to make sure straps and attachment points won’t separate under strain.
There can be little doubt, considering the weight of the data, that helmets help to improve the odds of survival and to reduce the risk of serious head injury in motorcycle accidents. Riders should make the selection of good, properly fitting helmets a priority before they hit the road.