The season is about a month away and yes I am presenting another blog entry about helmets. I feel very passionate about this subject and will therefore never relent.
In Ontario we are required to wear a helmet by law. Most riders would agree that a helmet is a valuable piece of safety equipment much like a seatbelt and airbag in a car. But that is where the similarities among riders begin to vary.
The helmet world is full of options and standards. Full face, flip-up, half helmets and beanie’s (the Harley helmet 🙂 ). They also come certified to different standards.
The three major Certification Standards are as follows:
- DOT (FMVSS 218 Standard)- This was first issued in 1974 and was updated in 1980 and again in 1988.
- SNELL (Snell Memorial Foundation) – This is a private organization that issues their own standard.
- ECE (Economic Community of Europe ECE 22.05) – Mostly unheard of in the US and Canada but actually the most required standard in over 50 different countries.
To learn more about these standards read my older blog titled Talking Helmets Again.
Most people stop at DOT and as long as the helmet is certified DOT they seem to be content that they are surrounded in safety. I found an excellent YouTube video explaining DOT helmets; Dangerous Secrets of the DOT Helmet Standard.
I always go back to the reason we choose to wear a helmet. A helmet has only one purpose in life and that is to protect our head in the case of an accident. So the big question is; What parts and how do you like your head?
My friend’s daughter was working setting up a huge tent this last fall in Pointe Claire when a wind storm and air burst picked up the tent including the large support beams and spun them around in the air. The largest beam smacked her right in the front face. Her face was crushed , teeth pushed in, jaw broken, eyes crushed and forehead smashed. She survived. Long operations and recovery. She no longer has smell or taste. But they have re-built her. The surgeon said that she was lucky the pole hit her on her face because the face is designed to absorb the impact by crushing and therefore protecting the brain. I found this interesting, much like the crumple zones in a car. The surgeon said she would be dead if the pole had hit here anywhere else on her head.
So why do I ponder about this story? Because the Number One Motorcycle and Scooter accident happens when a car or truck turns in front of you unexpectedly. The most common injury results from a face plant whereby you fly off your motorcycle or scooter forwards and plant your face onto the hood or bumper of the car or through the windshield. The good news is that your face will crush and absorb the impact to protect your brain if you wear a half or scooter helmet or a weak, substandard full face or flip-up helmet.
The third most common accident is also hitting a car or obstacle while going around a curve that you did not see. Again the face-plant is a common result of this type of accident.
So why do we choose helmets that do not fully protect us? There are many answers to that:
- I like the style
- I like the comfort
- I like the non-restricted view
- I like the colors
- I like the air on my face
- I like the price
- I like that I fit in with other riders
- I like to be cool
- I won’t have an accident
- The sales person recommended it
- My friend has one and he is happy
- It was the only one that fit
- Have another, send it here:
Each of the above reasons can be supported either way but in reality they are not very strong arguments for purchasing a helmet.
The better reason to buy helmet is for safety and proper fit. I think that the Snell standard whereby the inspectors are independent and have leeway to test the helmet in areas that they think may be weak is such a huge advantage that it seals the deal for me. This deal only includes full face helmets and not even flip-ups. A helmet that is not Snell certified may not protect you in a front face plant or hitting the back of your head. A DOT helmet is designed to protect you if you hit the top of your head only and even at that, it is not a guarantee since the manufacturers do their own testing (fox minding the chickens).
But really folks, I get it!
Nothing cooler than a matching Vespa Helmet!
How cool are these to go with my Vespa?
I can imagine, a brown leather jacket, jeans, cowboy boots and slim leather gloves. Until of course I happen to become one of those members of the most common face-plant gangs in the city…
On Second Thoughts,
I’ll Stick with My Hi-Vis Arai 🙂