What A Helmet Can Do For You

Much like other sport like activities, motorcycling requires its own protective gear and equipment. For a motorcyclist, your own clothes need to be able to protect you in case of an accident. This means a long-sleeved jacket, full-fingered gloves, long pants, and of course a helmet.

For some motorcyclists, a helmet can be a touchy subject. After all, a motorcycle is suppose to be the symbol of freedom and danger right? Wrong! Though riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, that is not a good enough excuse for risking your life further by not wearing your helmet.

How Does A Helmet Protect You?

Different helmets do different things. There are plenty of hard hats and helmets used to protect your head in all kinds of activities from construction to sports. That's why each helmet must be specialized for each unique situation and need. A motorcycle helmet has four basic components that work together to provide your with the best protection possible: an outer shell, an impact-absorbing liner, the comfort padding, and a good retention system.

Outer shell – The first thing you notice about a helmet is its outer shell. This is usually made from fiber-reinforced composites or thermoplastics like polycarbonate. This is pretty tough stuff and is intended to compress when it hits anything hard. That action allows it to disperse energy from the impact and lessen the force before it reaches your head.

Impact-absorbing liner – Next you have the inside of the shell called the impact-absorbing liner. This is often made from expanded polystyrene or styrofoam. This dense layer is able to cushion and absorb the shock of impact. Much like the outer shell, this also compresses when hit into order to lessen the blow.

Comfort padding – The comfort padding is the soft foam and cloth layer that sits on your head. This allows the helmet to fit comfortably as well as decrease the amount of impact felt.

Retention system – The retention system, also known as the chin strap, is also very important. It is the only thing keeping your helmet on your head during an accident or crash. Otherwise, your helmet would most likely fly right off your head. The strap is connected to each side of the shell and needs to be fastened securely in order for your helmet to do its job.

How Do You Choose The Right Helmet?

Despite what some might say, one size does not fit all. Even words labels like “small, medium or large” won't really tell you whether your helmet will fit properly. You need to find a helmet that is a comfortable fit for your head.

The best way to find out whether a helmet fits is to simply try it on. Your helmet should fit a little tightly with no gaps between your temples and the helmet's brow pads. If the helmet has a face shield, make sure your chin and nose do not touch the shield. After you have tried it on for a little while, take it off and check your head for red spots or soreness. Though it may seem minor now, it'll be uncomfortable on long trips. You may need to try on several sizes and brands to find the right fit, but it is an important investment to your safety.

Does A Helmet Require Any Care?

Helmets do require some minimum care in order to function properly. Every so often, clean your helmet with mild soap and water. Do not use any strong cleaning agents! Exposure to these chemicals may cause the helmet to decompose and lose its protective value. If your face shield is scratched, replace it. Scratches can make it difficult to see and may distort your vision on the road.

Though your helmet is tough and study, you should still handle it carefully. Dropping your helmet onto a hard surface may harm its ability to protect you in the future.

When Should You Replace Your Helmet?

Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet every few years to ensure the best protection possible. Even if there are no visible signs of wear and tear, some of your helmet's protective qualities may deteriorate over time.

However, if you notice any signs of damage or if the helmet was already involved in a crash, you should replace your helmet as soon as you can. In some cases, a professional may be able to repair a damaged helmet as well.