Motorcycle riders should have the right to make their own choice when it comes to wearing a helmet. Period.
That said, in our line of work, we have seen so many good people’s lives changed by traumatic brain injuries after motorcycle crashes that we’re big believers in the benefit of wearing helmets. And this month, Rider Justice is celebrating Motorcycle Awareness Month by giving away a helmet each week! This time, we’ve partnered with Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson to give more folks the opportunity to have a new helmet for their noggin’.
Our friend Stevie, Apparel Specialist at Erico Motorsports in Denver, recently shared a scary statistic with us: If you are riding 10 miles per hour, and your head hits the ground from 12 inches high (I repeat: TEN miles per hour and twelve INCHES), the impact on your brain is the same as being dropped on your head from a three-story building. (See above video to hear her helmet advice.)
You likely made up your own mind about helmets a long time ago. However, for those of you shopping for a motorcycle helmet, we want you to pick the right one! Here are a few things to consider:
Does My Motorcycle Helmet Fit Right?
When it comes to fit, a new helmet is going to be very snug when you first put it on. Like a pair of jeans, the helmet will form to your head as you wear it more, but you don’t want it to become too loose. So, when putting a new helmet on for the first time, shake your head side-to-side and up-and-down. Does it shake around? It’s too big. You don’t want it so tight that it will give you a headache, but you definitely want it to be snug. As you wear it more, the foam will shape to your head.
Today’s helmets are not your Grandpa’s or Grandma’s helmet. These are high-tech pieces of innovative equipment designed to protect your noggin’ and provide comfort, as well. Here are some other features to consider when buying a helmet:
- Motorcycle Helmet Ventilation: With Colorado’s fluctuating weather, it’s nice to have the option of airflow around your head during hot days, with the ability to close out the bitter cold during the chilly seasons. The answer: vents!
- Shape of Your Motorcycle Helmet: That traditional egg shape is common for a reason: you don’t want anything sticking off your head to catch on the pavement (or anything else) if you go down. Avoid cutesy, themed helmets with stuff hanging off of them. Take your brain seriously.
- Full-Face Versus Three-Quarter Face Helmet: Stevie recommends the full-face helmets. Not only because they protect you more in an accident, but because they keep road debris out of your face. Because of that, many people often find full-face helmets more comfortable overall.
Other Motorcycle Gear to Consider
- Motorcycle jacket: Today’s motorcycle jackets are as high-tech as helmets. Some are now made with a material called “ballistic nylon!” Others have layers of lightweight padding and armor to keep your body safe. Like helmets, shop for the right fit.
- Pants: You should always wear long pants when riding. Jeans made of normal denim actually don’t provide much protection at all. Instead, try to find Kevlar-laced denim jeans or pants made from a material called Cordera. Leather is also better than your average denim.
- Gloves: Some of the most gruesome injuries after motorcycle accidents are to the hands, which often are “degloved” in crashes. That is as bad as it sounds. Make sure to wear hand protection while riding.
- Boots: Like hands, feet are often overlooked when people are gearing up to ride. But if you imagine your foot coming down onto pavement at high speed, you can imagine the twisting, juddering effect of that impact. Make sure to wear boots that won’t shred and also keep your ankle stable.
If you imagine yourself riding into your old age, make sure you take care of the body that you put on that bike! Give it as much attention as the bike itself. Then get out there and have fun!