Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle helmet safety’

 

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April is Motorcycle Helmet Awareness Month so we are doing a series of posts to try and do just that… provide awareness! This post is about “things” you should consider in order to make your helmet last and protect you longer.

1 – Keep the exterior clean. After your ride take a moment to clean the helmet shell of bugs and road grit. If you use an open face helmet also brush your teeth.

2 – Keep the interior clean. Yup sometimes your helmet can get funky. BUT you must be

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Might take some work to remove the dog smell

careful about cleaning the interior. Follow your owner’s manual on cleaning the inside of your helmet.

3 – Don’t use odor masking or sanitizing sprays on the interior of your helmet. Some sprays can degrade the foam under your padding, which will degrade its ability to keep you safe.

4 – Clean your visor. You must see right, so follow your brands instructions on cleaning the visor. But, be careful when working on the inside of the visor, most come with an anti-fog coating that needs to be properly handled….. DO NOT USE PAPER TOWELS on either side of your visor.

5 – Don’t grab or carry the helmet by the visor. Yes, we all know not to do this, but we all have. Really, try not to do this as it will damage the visor and possible the hinge point.

6 – Don’t hang your helmet from the mirror. As you should know the main part of the helmet that protects your head is the foam liner. Hanging your helmet from the mirror can cause the foam to compress where it sets on the mirror. Also how are your going to admire yourself with only one mirror.

7 – Keep your helmet ventilated. No, do not drill holes to get better air flow LOL. After you ride store your motorcycle helmet in a manner that will allow a good air flow to dry things out. Don’t just toss it in the helmet bag and into a closet…. Let it breath like a good wine!

The last two I had never thought about until researching this post.

8 – Don’t store your gloves in the motorcycle helmet. A couple sites stated some obvious things like….The gloves will restrict ventilation and not allow the padding to dry. Also the gloves will add their own “STINK” to the lining.

9 – Don’t slide your arm though the eye hole. The idea is that if you do this a lot, in order to free your hand for a task, your motorcycle helmet will get worn faster. That your jacket sleeve will cause undue wear an might also damage the inside of the visor.

 

Have any additional ideas on how to make your motorcycle helmet last longer? Add those ideas to the comments below.

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It is time to check you motorcycle helmet.  At least once a year you should check your helmet to make sure everything is right and correct.  As the month of April is Motorcycle Helmet Safety month, now is a good time to do the checks.

What are the things you need to check?  Here are the minimum things you need to look for:

1) Is the shell all in one piece? No cracks or splits?

2) Are the straps and connectors in good shape, no adverse wear or tear?

3) The internal padding is connected and stays in place?

4) Remove the padding and check the foam.  Is it dented or have cracks?

5) While looking at the foam, most companies place a sticker printed with the helmet’s birthday. Is it over 5 years old?

6) Does the rest of the internals look in good operating condition?

7) Check the visor for damage that might obscure your vision can you see clearly?

8) Are the screws or other visor attachments tight?

9) Make sure that insects/creatures are not living in your helmet, see the photos below!

Checklist item 5 is the 5-year rule.  Most manufactures recommend that after 5 years you replace your helmet.  While the cynical among us will cite the “more money” theory of why they want it replaced there is evidence that the foam lining (the part that does most of the work in a crash) does deteriorate over time. It is your head, so it is your decision to replace or not if everything looks good.

For more you can check out HelmetCheck.org.

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With April set as Motorcycle Helmet Safety Month I thought I would write a few different posts on the subject.  I am going to try and cover several different areas around helmet safety just for us to think about.

FITMENT

I am not going to try the case of wearing or not wearing the helmet.  But if you do wear a helmet you should make sure it fits properly.

The first thing, in my opinion, you should do is look at the sizing guides for the helmets you are most interested in. Every motorcycle helmet manufacturer has a slightly different way of sizing your head both in measurements and shape.

Sizing your skull

When you measure your head, wrap the tape measure starting about ½ inch above your eyebrow, loop around your head (at the largest point) keeping it above your ears.  I recommend that you have a friend help you with this to get the correct measure.  I also suggest doing it three times and then averaging the three to get the size of your noog’n.

If your melon falls between the two sizes, go with the smaller size.

 

 

Shape of your skull

This one is a lot tougher to deal with.  Most motorcycle helmet makers really, truly do not take into to account that our brain-cases are the same shape.

While all heads, for the most part, are oval some are rounder then others while some are more elongated.  The shape of your skull will impact how the helmet fits.  You will have to try on the helmets you are interested in to see how they fit your dome.

Trying the Helmet On

Does your new candidate helmet fill a little tight?  That is good!  Feeling a little tight or slightly uncomfortable is ok but if it should not be inducing any pain to the back of your gourd, your temples or your forehead. Any hotspots or uncomfortable pressure points will be a guarantee of a miserable ride.

Now try turning the helmet left and right and tilting forward and back.  If the helmet moves over your skin freely it is to big, try a size smaller.

If it seems to fit well, try to keep it on for at least 10-15 minutes.  Does it still feel ok?  When you take it off are there any hotspots or rub marks, if not maybe you have a winner.  If you are having comfort issues the helmet just might be the wrong shape for your head.

Try to Pull the Helmet Off

Last step, if everything else seems to be a-ok.  Reach over your head and grasp the bottom/back of the helmet.  Try and pull it over and off your head.  If it comes off, try a different size.

While these are my recommendation please do your own research on the fitment of motorcycle helmets.  There are many other suggestions out there, these are just the ones that I use. Just use these suggestions as a way to get started on assuring a good fit.  Look for other suggestions/recommendations on fitment of helmets.  Never trust just one website, look at as many as you can to make sure you fully understand. 

Also, you can use these fitment techniques as a starting point to determine if your current motorcycle helmet is still good to go.  Can you pull it over and off your head?  Might be a good time to replace your primary safety device.

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Example of bad fitment!

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Here in North America and in many other parts of the world, our motorcycles are coming out of their winter hibernation.  Along with the all of our riding accessories including helmets.

So what does that mean to you and me, the average motorcycle rider?h7

It means that you need to perform the safety checks for your motorcycle (tires, brakes, etc.).  You also need to check the condition of your helmets.  Some ideas on checking your motorcycle helmet:

  • Is the shell all in one piece? No cracks or splits?
  • Are the straps and connectors in good shape, no adverse wear or tear?
  • The internal padding is connected and stays in place?
  • Does the rest of the internals look in good operating condition?
  • Make sure that insects/creatures are not living in your helmet, see the photos below!

While your helmet might look clean and shiny it does not mean that it not ready for replacement. Worse yet, a single drop to the ground might be enough to cause you to consider replacement, according to the manufactures.

Here are some industry guidelines regarding your helmet:

  • Helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3 to 5 years, h6depending on use, to ensure optimal protection.
  • Over time, UV rays, internal adhesive and component aging can deteriorate a helmet’s protective qualities by degrading the interior protection layer.
  • Exposure to gasoline, insect repellent, cleaning fluids, exhaust fumes and excessive heat can degrade helmet materials.
  • If a helmet has been dropped or suffered an impact, it should be replaced immediately.
  • A helmet is designed for only one impact, even a small one. An impact may fracture its outer shell as well as compress the inner liner, neither of which may be visible.

Now it is your head so you need to make the decision, but you should at least check out your lid to make sure there are no major issues.

When you get your lid out for the 1st time this year, or if you have let it set for while you might want to make sure nothing has crawled in there.  In the 1st photo that is a poisonous Black Widow spider.  How bad would it feel to get bitten at 50MPH?  Oh and in the second pic that is a miniature Mountain Lion, I am sure you can all see the danger in that!!!!

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Check your lid! That is a Black Widow Spider!

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Look! A cat!