Are All Helmets Created Equal?
A study by the Oxford Academic International Journal of Epidemiology compared the effectiveness of different types of motorcycle helmets-full face, open face and half-coverage. The results of the study revealed that of the three helmet types, half coverage helmets provide the least protection from head injuries. A half-helmeted rider is more than twice as likely to suffer a head or brain injury than a rider with a full helmet. The study determined only a slight increase in risk of head or brain injury for an open face helmet versus a full-face helmet. However, keep in mind, the study considered only brain and head injuries, and a full-face helmet will go a long way to protect the rider from injury to the face.
The Importance of Fit
The Oxford study also looked at the effectiveness of a properly fitted helmet. Not surprisingly, if a helmet is loosely fastened, the risk of head injury is increased and the rider is more than twice as likely to suffer a brain injury. Of course, if the helmet comes off, it isn’t going to much good.
Fitting your Helmet
First, measure your head and then select the corresponding helmet size from the manufacturer’s size chart. A new helmet should be snug around the part of your head that would be covered by a baseball cap. This area should be about as firm as a tight knitted winter hat – slightly compressed, but not painful or squeezing. There should be no “hot spots” or specific points in the baseball cap area where you feel pressure or pinching, including the forehead, back of the head or temples.
In a new helmet, the sides of your face should be tightly compressed, particularly around your cheeks. The pressure may feel awkward or slightly uncomfortable, but should not be painful.
Helmets Save Lives
Studies show that un-helmeted riders involved in a crash are more than four times as likely to suffer a head injury and ten times more likely to have a brain injury. The fact is, helmets save lives-so choose wisely and make sure it fits!