Not every motorcycle helmet is the same. Choose a DOT approved helmet that protects your head and face. Here’s some great information on helmet safety from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
Most activities have their own suitable protective gear and equipment. Motorcycling is no exception. Every rider and passenger
should wear over-the-ankle footwear, long pants, a long-sleeved jacket,full-fingered motorcycle gloves,and a helmet manufactured to meet DOT (U.S.Department of Transportation) standards. Helmets work. Helmet effectiveness has been confirmed by respon-
sible studies,while helmet myths – “helmets break necks,block vision and impair hearing” – have been consistently disproved. Safety- conscious riders wear helmets by deliberate choice every time they ride;we know that you will,too.
What a Helmet Does for You
First, it is the best protective gear you can wear while riding a motor-cycle. Think of it at the same time you think of your ignition key:Pick up the key; pick up the helmet. They go together. Helmet use is not a “cure-all” for motorcycle safety, but in a crash, a helmet can help protect your brain, your face, and your life. Combined with other protective gear, rider-education courses, proper licensing and public awareness, the use of helmets and protective gear is one way to reduce injury. You hope you never have to “use” your helmet, just like you hope you won’t ever need to “use” the seatbelt in your car. But crashes do happen. We can’t predict when or what kind they will be. You should not say to yourself, “I’m just running down to the store,”and not wear your helmet.
In any given year,a lot of people make good use of seatbelts,and a lot of riders give thanks that they were wearing helmets.
Second, a good helmet makes riding a motorcycle more fun, due to the comfort factor:another truth. It cuts down on wind noise roaring by your ears; on windblast on your face and eyes, and deflects bugs and other objects flying through the air. It even contributes to comfort from changing weather conditions and reduces rider fatigue. Third, wearing a helmet shows that motorcyclists are responsible people; we take ourselves and motorcycling seriously. Wearing a helmet, no matter what the law says, is a projection of your attitude toward riding. And that attitude is plain to see by other riders and non-riders alike.
How and Why a Helmet Works
Different helmets do different things. There are hard hats on construction and heavy-industry heads;football helmets on athletes’
heads,and Kevlar® caps on military heads. None are interchangeable. Motorcycle riding helmets are very sophisticated and specialized for the activity. They’ve been developed carefully and scientifically over the years. Four basic components work together to provide protection in the motorcycle helmet:an outer shell;an impact-absorbing liner; the comfort padding;and a good retention system. What we see first is the outer shell, usually made from some family of fiber-reinforced composites or thermoplastics like polycarbonate. This is tough stuff, yet it’s designed and intended to compress when it hits anything hard. That action disperses energy from the impact to lessen the force before it reaches your head,but it doesn’t act alone to protect you. Inside the shell is the equally important impact-absorbing liner, usually made of expanded polystyrene (commonly thought of as Styrofoam).This dense layer cushions and absorbs the shock as the helmet stops and your head wants to keep on moving. Both the shell and the liner compress if hit hard,spreading the forces of impact throughout the helmet material. The more impact-energy deflected or absorbed, the less there is of it to reach your head and do damage. Some helmet shells delaminate on impact. Others may crack and break if forced to take a severe hit;this is one way a helmet acts to absorb shock. It is doing its intended job. Impact damage from a crash to the non-resilient liner may be invisible to the eye; it may look great, but it probably has little protective value left and
should be replaced. The comfort paddingis the soft foam-and-cloth layer that sits next to your head. It helps keep you comfortable and the helmet fitting snugly. In some helmets, this padding can even be taken out for cleaning. The retention system, or chin strap, is very important. It is the one piece that keeps the helmet on your head in a crash. A strap is connected to each side of the shell. Every time you put the helmet on, fasten the strap securely.It only takes of couple of seconds. To ride without your helmet secured would be as questionable as driving without your seatbelt fastened. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a national, not-for-profit organization promoting the safety of motorcyclists with programs in rider training, operator licensing and public information.
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