As a motorcycle rider, no doubt you are already aware that the safety of you and your bike is paramount. Thus, you conduct regular check-ups and maintenance on your bike, exercise vigilance when out riding, have the security of comprehensive motorbike insurance coverage and wear appropriate protective gear. Most important of all when it comes to protective gear is of course a good quality helmet, which will protect you against potential head injuries as well as shield your head and face from the wind, cold, insects and flying objects.
By law, wearing a helmet is required, but for your own protection it is not enough to wear just any old helmet. Accidents are a very real possibility no matter how safely and sensibly you ride, as demonstrated by Department for Transportation statistics showing 21,550 reported motorcycle casualties in 2008, and in the event of an accident your helmet could be the difference between life and death. As such, it is crucial that you outfit yourself with a regulation helmet that is in good condition and fits properly.
For maximum protection against severe head or facial injuries, and to ensure your motorcycle insurance is not invalidated, your helmet should meet the acceptable standards. This means a helmet that carries a BSI kitemark indicating compliance with British Standard BS 6658:1985, a UN E mark indicating compliance with UNECE Regulation 22.05 or a mark indicating compliance with a standard set by other European Economic Area countries that has the protection equivalence of BS 6658:1985.
A regulation good quality helmet will be made with glass fibre, Kevlar or polycarbonate, and any of them are acceptable. Glass fibre helmets are heavier and last longer than polycarbonate helmets, while Kevlar helmets provide a combination of tough strength and light weight. To help choose the kind that is right for you, try on various brands and models to determine which fits best and is most comfortable. Full-face helmets are recommended since they protect the face as well as head, although riders who feel hemmed in by full-face helmets can opt to wear open-face ones with goggles, bearing in mind though that in an accident the face and chin will be unprotected.
In addition to reducing the severity of head and facial injuries, a good quality helmet can also help reduce the risk of accidents in the first place by cutting down on distractions. If the helmet is good quality it is likely to fit better and more comfortably than a poor quality helmet, which is important since an ill-fitting helmet is not going to provide adequate protection in the event of a crash, and an uncomfortable helmet will ruin the enjoyment of your ride and affect your concentration. The padding inside a good quality helmet will help to block out wind noises as you ride, cutting down on that distraction, and if it is a full-face helmet you will have the added advantage of keeping other distractions such as the wind and bugs from blowing in your face.
Avoid using second-hand helmets or helmets that have already sustained a knock, since there is little point in taking the precaution of wearing a good quality helmet if it is in less than top condition. Also, never use a bicycle helmet as a substitute for a motorcycle helmet.
In short, do not skimp when it comes to your safety and protection. When you invest the money in a good quality helmet, you can do so knowing that it has undergone rigorous safety tests to ensure it offers maximum protection, unlike cheaper helmets that likely have not met the same level of safety test standards. You can then ride your bike with the assurance that you have safeguarded yourself with the best protection possible.