Tag Archives: Helmet

Win for emergency call motorcycle helmet

US college student Ty Uehara has won $US2000 to develop his ConTekt helmet that will call emergency (911) if you have been in a crash.

He’s not the first.

Several other helmets are also being developed, including the Encephalon (Brain) from Nand Logic in the USA, the Indian-made Quin and even a Thai Helpmet.

There is also the BMW e-Call SOS button which is now available on some of its motorcycles.

BMW SOS button motorrad win mandated
BMW SOS button

It is not yet able to be used in Australia because of our telecommunications set-up.

Europe plans to make the technology mandatory in the next few years as it has in cars for some time.

We suspect that eventually this emergency call technology will be mandatory to secure insurance.

How emergency call works

These devices use a combination of GPS, accelerometers, gyroscope, pressure sensors and Bluetooth to detect a crash and make the call.

They also have override systems in case they are accidentally triggered such as if the helmet falls off the bike while parked.

Ty created his helmet invention after a crash left him unable to call for help.

He entered the helmet in the University of Hawaii Breakthrough Innovation Challenge and won $US2000 (about $A3900).

Ty now plans to use to obtain a patent and develop a working prototype of ConTekt.

He believes it will cost about $US700 ($A1000) when it eventually hits the market.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are novelty motorcycle helmet covers legal?

Many riders like to get into the holiday spirit by wearing Santa, elf, Elmo or reindeer novelty helmet covers.

However, they could be a safety hazard, they may void your insurance and some police say they may be illegal.

Safety aspects of novelty coversMelbourne Toy Run 40th anniversary covers

While novelty helmet covers may be fun and potentially protect your helmet from dust, scratches and chips, they could also be a safety hazard.

They can come loose and obscure your vision or become a choking hazard, especially at high speeds.

Most suppliers recommend they not be worn on the highway, but only at city speeds.

Since most are only worn in charity parades, speed should not be an issue.

But be aware that they can reduce ventilation which would make them stiflingly hot on a summer’s day in a slow-moving toy run procession.

They may also suppress important surrounding noises such as emergency sirens or the sound of screeching tyres.

Legal aspects of novelty covers

While we cannot find any legal reference in the Australian Road Rules to these novelty covers, police can still issue a ticket if they believe it is an offence.

So we contacted them for their interpretation of the road rules.

VicPol say it is “not possible to provide a blanket yes or no answer to your query, as it must be assessed on an individual basis”.

They suggest the following points could impact on the compliance:

  • The correct fitment is highly unlikely as the covers are “one size fits all’ and not manufactured for specific brand / model helmets.
  • The cover has the potential to impede vision through the visor when fitted or whilst travelling.
  • The cover may prevent the rider from securing the helmet correctly through the helmet buckle.
  • The cover has the potential to move / fall off at speed.Novelty santa xmas motorcycle helmet cover

Queensland and South Australia police say novelty helmet covers are legal:

Novelty helmet covers are not illegal, as long as the rider is wearing a motorcycle helmet that complies with Australian standards and is securely fastened. Riders will need to ensure that the novelty cover does not obscure their vision.

WA Police did not respond, but the Western Australia Road Safety Commission says riders are already vulnerable road users and “wearing gear that might potentially make it harder for riders to spot other road users would not improve this situation”.

ACT Police say they would “take action against the user of the helmet cover if it contributed to an incident or collision (for example, if the cover impeded the vision of a rider)”.

“It is concerning to police that the manufacturers openly identify significant risks to the user of the product on their website,” they say.

Bah humbugMelbourne Toy Run 40th anniversary

Since most riders wear novelty helmets as part of a fund-raising or at least fun-raising ride, it would be a particularly belligerent Scrooge cop who fined a rider over a helmet cover!

Speaking of Scrooges: If you crash while wearing a novelty helmet cover, your insurance company may use it as an excuse to void your policy.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are helmet attachments now legal?

More riders can now wear helmet cameras and bluetooth intercom attachments and fit tinted visors after South Australia joined the ACT in formal acknowledgement of 2015 changes to the Australian Road Rules (ARR).

That leaves Victoria as the only state where police have an issue with these attachments, although we have not heard of any recent fines.

It has never been an issue in Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory or Queensland where a former Police Minister actually encouraged helmet camera use for evidential reasons.

Australian Motorcycle Council Protective Clothing sub-committee chair Brian Wood says their advice from the NSW Centre for Road Safety is that cameras and communication devices are legal provided the helmet manufacturer approves their use.

“I’m not aware of anyone in NSW being booked for having a camera or communication device on their helmet for a couple of years,” Brian says.

Attachments legal

South Australian Ride to Review spokesman Tim Kelly says the state accepted their submission to accept the ARR.

Hew says it means the requirements for adherence to a helmet standard “become point-of-sale only”.

“This means helmet attachments will become legal, tinted visors will become legal and MX sun visors will become legal,” he says.

The only amendment to the ARR was the inclusion of a reference to a helmet being in good repair and proper working order and condition.

Rider warned

Confusion grows on on helmet attachments jail cameras
Eric Aria (Photo courtesy Channel 7)

In 2017, Adelaide rider Erica Aria went to the Sturt Police Station to submit video of drivers cutting him off in traffic but instead received an official warning for an “illegal helmet camera”.

The police said he could cop a $450 fine if he was caught again with the camera.

Eric has now welcomed the changes to the state rules.

“At least now people know if they can legally wear them or not and there’ll be no double standards with police wearing them and not the riders who genuinely need the camera for safety and insurance reasons,” he says.

Safety testing

Brian says the NSW Centre for Road Safety did some “oblique impact testing” at Crashlab several years ago on the effect of helmet attachments.

It has been suggested that they can rotate the rider’s head in a crash, causing neck injuries.

However, the Centre’s report on this testing is yet to be released.

“It should eventually be released, we just don’t know when,” Brian says.

The Centre told us they had completed three sets of tests on attachments fitted to motorcycle helmets:

The final series of tests were completed earlier this year.  The results and recommendations from the tests are currently been reviewed and a report is expected to be published in 2020.

Brian points out that in the ACT it is legal to have a camera or communication device on a helmet provided that the mount is ‘frangible’ which means it easily breaks off in a crash.

“What constitutes a frangible mount is not defined,” Brian says.

“Hopefully, the CfRS report will give guidance on this. 

The NSW Police wear cameras and communication devices on their helmets.

“I believe they have done their own oblique impact testing at Crashlab. They use a 3M product called Dual Lock. 

I believe Dual Lock was part of the CfRS testing. However, there are several versions of Dual Lock. I don’t know which one or ones have been tested.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Arai wins gold medal for safety

Japanese company Arai is the first helmet manufacturer to win a gold safety medal from the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme.

In fact, no other gear manufacturer has received the prestigious Nicolas Rodil del Valle gold medal since the awards began in 1983.

The gold medal is awarded to individuals who make significant contributions to “two-wheel racing activities and management of businesses”.

The awards were announced last week and Australian safety and comfort ratings system for motorcycle clothing, MotoCAP, won the road safety section.

Arai awardArai Rapide Neo retro helmet

Arai says the award was vindication of their “achievement in contributions to the safety of many riders and numerous advancements to motorcycle sports over many years”.

“Understanding the reason for this award, Arai Helmet continues to make helmets without compromise for the sake of rider protection since the company’s founding as the first motorcycle helmet manufacturer in Japan,” their official press release states.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say these contributions are recognised around the world by the granting of this award.”

The company began was formed in 1926 by Hirotake Arai as a hat making company and was the first Japanese company to make motorcycle helmets in 1950.

The annual Australian Canstar Blue customer satisfaction survey usually rates Arai fairly highly, but it was missing from this year’s survey.

The survey doesn’t include safety as a criterion, but judges on customer satisfaction, durability, vision, comfort, cleaning, features, design and value.

Most of their helmets are fairly expensive.

In the latest round of safety and comfort ratings by the NSW Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets (CRASH), Arai’s open-face helmets scored just one star for safety, but its Renegade-V scored three out of five stars.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Frog leaps to save your motorcycle helmet

If you are frustrated with finding somewhere to safely rest your helmet the “Y” shaped Spanish Frog portable helmet support could be the answer.

Inventor Luis de Arquer says the 70 x 80mm Frog comes in two models that you either carry in your pocket or stick to the top of your helmet with a 3M adhesive strip.

They come in multiple colours, some with motorcycle manufacturer logos, and cost €20 (about $A35) each or half price if you support their Kickstarter campaign.

They claim it will ship to early supporters in January and others in February.Frog helmet support

How the Frog works

The Frog supports the helmet in an upside down position without scratching the surface.

As Luis says, you can then put your gloves, phone, glasses and keys inside your helmet for handy storage.

We wonder whether the Aussie police would be upset by sticking it to your helmet as they have fined riders for sticking action cameras to their helmet before, cleaning it makes the helmet non-compliant.

If that’s a concern to you, try the portable pocket device.Frog helmet support

The miniature tripod device won a A’Design Award for its usefulness and ease of use.

It is based on the Euclid Tripod Axiom which means only three points are required to define a flat plane.

Luis says it is stable enough to secure your helmet, but we wonder whether it would withstand a rickety cafe table or someone bumping into your bike with the helmet on the seat or tank.Frog helmet support

If it does work, it would be a handy little device as it can be difficult finding somewhere safe and convenient to hang your helmet on a motorcycle.

By the way, if you are wondering why a Y-shaped item with three legs is named the Frog, it is apparently named after the Brazilan Brachycephalus tridactylus frog which is the only frog in the world with only three legs.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Alpine MotoSafe earplugs just got better!

A tiny little piece of plastic has just made universal-fit MotoSafe earplugs from Dutch company Alpine Hearing Protection even better.

With the new minigrip they are now just that little bit easier to pull out, extending the life of the earplugs.

We have written on many occasions about the importance of earplugs. Basically they make you more relaxed, less weary, more alert and save your hearing, all at the same time.

We’ve tried many different earplugs, including personalised moulded plugs which are very effective, but can leave you feeling disoriented like you are underwater.

MotoSafe plugs are cheaper, more convenient (no need for a fitting because they fit all ears) and more comfortable, even when riding all day with a tight helmet. Since there is no silicone in the material, they also don’t get sweaty or itchy.

Most importantly, they filter out the damaging wing noise. And that’s why we sell them online.Alpine Motosafe earplugs

MotoSafe safe

Turbulence generated at high speeds can reach 103dB which is why all racers wear foam plugs to block out all sound.

The filter in MotoSafe blocks damaging high-frequency wind noise, but still allows you to hear important sounds such as sirens, horns and screeching tyres.

Meanwhile, it still allows you to hear “pleasant sounds” such as your music, phone conversation, GPS turn prompts and your bike’s exhaust note!

However, we have damaged a couple of sets in the past trying to pull them out.

They come with a small black plastic applicator which you use to push them all the way in until you hear an air seal. (Make sure to wet the plug first!)

To remove them, reverse the applicator and dig underneath the plug to break the seal, then grab the filter and gently pull them out.

The previous plug design had a short filter and you sometimes had to twist them to get them out, breaking the filter in the process!

Alpine MotoSafe earplugs make riders safer
Old MotoSafe earplugs without the mingrip

Now the minigrip prevents that issue and makes them just that little bit better.

They come in black (Tour) which reduces noise by 27dB or red (Race) which provides 30dB of noise filtering. I use the red ones all the time; even when just heading out to the shops.

Tinnitus

In Australia, about four million people have hearing loss. In the UK it’s 10 million and in the US, some 48 million have some form of hearing loss.

While hearing loss is a part of the natural ageing process, it is increased by prolonged exposure to excessive noise and riders are more than likely to experience greater hearing losses in their senior years.

I not only have profound hearing loss, but, like about 30% of the population, I also suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

These conditions have developed from years of motorcycle riding, as well as playing in rock bands, going to concerts and listening to loud music.

The ringing is so bad it sometimes wakes me at night.

It’s not actually motorcycle exhaust or engine noise that cause the biggest problem, but wind noise, according to the American Industrial Paramedic Services.

That’s why riders should have some form of hearing protection whenever they ride, especially on long trips. Any earplug is better than no earplugs.

How long can you ride without risk of hearing damage?

Speed Average volume of wind noise under a helmet              Maximum time without risk of hearing damage
100km/h 94dB 15 minutes
120km/h 98dB 7 minutes
140km/h 102dB 3 minutes
160km/h 106dB 90 seconds

Helmet protection?Loud music wind noise earplugs

If you don’t think you can get hearing loss or tinnitus from riding because you wear a full-face helmet, you’re wrong.

Dutch magazine Promotor tested the noise levels in 10 different “system” (modular or flip-up) helmets at varying speeds and found some startling results.

The best result was 86dB at 50km/h which proses a risk of permanent hearing damage after just two hours of riding.

At 100km/h, the same helmet registered 100dB which is more noise than a hammer drill at 95dB.

At the other end of the spectrum the worst performing helmet registered 92dB at 50km/h which is comparable to a train speeding past.

At 100km/h it registered 106dB, which is louder than the noise of a chain saw or a disco.

While full-face helmets are quieter, they are not substantially quieter, especially if you ride with the visor open on hot summer days.

Technical details

Alpine MotoSafe earplug filters reduce noise at different levels for different frequencies.

For the technically minded, the Tour plugs reduce bass sounds around 63Hz by 6.6dB and 8000Hz treble sounds by 16.12dB which is wind noise at 50km/h.

The maximum amount of protection is in the harsh and harmful midrange of 2000-4000Hz where the noise suppression is 23.8-18.5dB.

The Race plugs drop bass frequencies 15.7dB, midrange by 26.1 and treble by 19.7dB.

Reduction in noise may vary from ear to ear, depending on fit, with a variation of 2.8 to 4.4dB.

This data was tested according to European standard EN 352-2: 2002.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Smart helmet prevents drink riding

While drink riding may be rare, it does happen, but not if a Taiwanese smart helmet fitted with a breathalyser becomes available.

The “Bluetooth Alcohol Detection Smart Motorcycle Helmet” was designed by Taipei City University of Science and Technology and has won best invention at the recent Seoul International Invention Fair.

It includes a breathalyser to test the blood alcohol content of the rider’s breath when they put on the helmet.

The helmet is also connected via Bluetooth to the motorcycle and prevents it starting if it detects alcohol on the rider’s breath.

Obviously the bike would be set up to only start in the presence of the helmet, but that doesn’t stop a rider having it as a spare or the pillion wearing it!

Drink driving and riding

This helmet is similar to the Saab-invented Alcohol Interlock which requires a driver to blow into a tube to activate the ignition.

Alcohol Interlock drink
Alcohol Interlock

Repeat and high-range offenders are required by law to install them in their car and on some motorcycles. Check the various laws across Australian states and territories on the Austroads website.

The Taiwanese smart helmet is only a prototype at the moment and we don’t expect any riders would go out and buy one.

It’s not a huge issue in Australia with an extremely small number of riders testing positive for alcohol, but it does happen.

So repeat offender drink drivers/riders could be forced to wear one.

Controversial University of New South Wales Transport and Road Safety Research Centre Professor Raphael Grzebieta has already recommended car-like interlocks for motorcycles.

However, that technology has been found wanting when applied to motorcycles.

Mind you, that didn’t stop him winning the 2019 Kenneth A Stonex road safety award after advocating wire rope barriers, lower speed limits, mandatory hi-vis rider vests and mandatory electronic rider aids.

Honda smart helmet

It’s not just Taiwanese science students who think this helmet tech is the answer.

Earlier this year, Honda filed a patent application for a facial-recognition helmet that would act as a key fob to unlock your motorcycle.

honda helmet key fob radar smartest
Honda’s helmet key fob patent drawing

It features a camera on the inside that identifies your face and then activates the motorcycle.

It would sidestep the problem where a pillion or friend could initiate the ignition with the Tawainese smart helmet.

While we expected it was an answer to a question no one has asked, that may not be the case.

Riders convicted of drink riding or other traffic offences may be required to wear such a helmet.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Everything You Need To Ride a Sport Bike

(Sponsored post)

So, you want to ride a sport bike. Unlike cruisers, sport bikes are made for rapid acceleration. They’re fun and exciting to drive, but they can also be challenging to ride at first. To make sure you stay safe, comfortable and in control, here’s a list of everything you need to get started, from sport bike wheel accessories to protective gear.

Wheel Spacers

When it comes to sport bike accessories, wheel spacers are often overlooked. However, they can make changing your wheels a quicker and easier process. Look for push-in interlocking wheel spacers that won’t move around.

Multi Tool Kit

Hauling your entire motorcycle kit is impractical when you’re riding a sport bike. After all, you don’t have a lot of space to store things and you don’t want to add too much weight to your ride. Pocket-sized multi tool kits can help you stay prepared without bulking you up or weighing you down. Look for tool kits that include basic open-ended wrenches, socket driver, spoke wrenches and screwdrivers.

Helmet

When riding a sport bike, it’s imperative to wear a quality helmet. Choose a full-face option that offers maximum protection. You may also want to select a helmet with Bluetooth integration technology. Good sport bike helmets are designed to be aerodynamic, comfortable and secure. This is an area where splurging a little is worth it to ensure your safety and your confidence on your bike.

Leather Suit

Sport bike riders don’t wear leather suits just to look cool. When you’re traveling at high speeds, loose clothing can cause significant drag. A close-fitting suit can help you remain aerodynamic. It also blocks the wind and keeps you comfortable and dry in all types of weather. Leather suits also offer superior skid protection if you happen to lose control of your bike.

Heated Gloves

If you do any fast riding in cold weather, your hands will feel the chill first. Heated gloves can keep your hands warm and dry so you can maintain optimum control of your bike in cold weather.

Boots 

A good pair of durable boots is a must-have for any sport bike rider. Look for a pair with straps or buckles instead of laces. You don’t want to risk having your laces come undone and get caught on your bike during your ride. If you plan to do any cold-weather riding, you should purchase a pair of boots with insulation so your toes don’t freeze.

Rim Strips

Although they don’t do much to enhance the safety or performance of your bike, rim strips can make your bike flashier. They are sport bike wheel accessories that have a huge impact on how you look. For the most notable effect, choose rim strips that are brightly colored and complement your bike’s paint job. Rim strips are easy to install and can be removed if you grow tired of them or want to switch colors.

Nothing compares to the speed and freedom a sport bike can offer. With the proper accessories and protective gear, you’ll be ready to confidently ride your sport bike in no time.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Shoei launch retro Glamster helmet

Every motorcycle helmet seems to have a retro model after the recent Arai Rapide Neo and now the Shoei Glamster road helmet.

Shoei already has the Ex-Zero which is more of a retro adventure helmet.

Shoei Ex-Zero retro helmet - Glamster
Shoei Ex-Zero

While the Glamster is a handsome looking helmet and has all the usual Shoei hi-tech, quality finish and protection, the name is perhaps one of the lamest we’ve ever heard.

It’s as cringe-worthy as the hipster video to announce the helmet’s release.

It shows riders on neo-retro BMW and Ducati scramblers heading to the beach for some racing with their hipster friends before heading home.

Glamster

Shoei Australia spokesman Jade says the Glamster is going into production now and due to arrive around April.

“We will have them on our website closer to the date of arrival and images will be uploaded for viewing and purchasing on our website,” Jade says.

There are no Aussie prices yet, but they cost £399.99 in the UK (about $A760) for a choice of eight plain colours while the graphic Resurrection is £499.99 (about $A950).

Glamster will come in three shell sizes for five head sizes from XS-XXL.

Inspired by ’70 and ‘80s race helmets, it uses modern material and production techniques.Shoei Glamster retro helmet

It has an AIM built outer shell with organic fibre and multi-composite fibre in various layers for shock-absorption and rigidity.

The interior liner is removable and washable. It is made from multi-density EPS with different densities to protect different parts of the rider’s head.Shoei Glamster retro helmet

The visor is Pinlock ready with three-position adjustment and a wide aperture.

Ventilation is provided by air inlets in the chin and forehead and exhaust outlets at the rear.Shoei Glamster retro helmet

By the way, some people pronounce Shoei as “shoe-ee”, others say “showy”, while the Japanese say “show eye”.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Helmet safety brake light may be illegal

A brake light that sticks to the back of a helmet and alerts tailgating drivers the rider is slowing down may be illegal in some states.

The Brake Free light is currently being crowd funded and Aussie rider Raphael Chan has signed on to receive and test the unit.

It consists of a slim unit stuck with adhesive tape that lights up whenever the rider slows, whether using the brake or just engine braking, as is often the case.Helmet safety brake light may be illegal

However, he contacted Motorbike Writer to find out if it is legal in Victoria after reading articles on our website about fines for having a camera attached to the helmet.

“Asking a police officer at the local cop shop hasn’t shed any light. He was just guessing at the answer and gave the safe answer of ‘no’ but to ask VicRoads,” he says.

“I’m trying to find out if it is a clear cut black and white NO to sticking anything to your helmet, or if it’s still open to interpretation depending on the policeman or under review for clarification.

“If it’s still a grey area, then I am prepared to risk a fine and increase my safety by testing the unit.”

Illegal in some states

Our understanding is that Victorian and South Australian police still believe it is illegal to attach anything to a helmet by any means, while NSW Police have held off issuing fines until Australian helmet rules are homogenised across all states.

That could take some time.

Meanwhile, Raphael and other supporters of this safety device to avoid being rear-ended are in a legal abyss.

The device is similar to the Smart Brake Light that we sell on our website because we believe it is a key safety feature.Helmet safety brake light may be illegal

However, that does not affect the compliance of helmets.

‘Expert advice’

We asked police and relevant departments in all states for their advice on whether Raphael would be fined for wearing the helmet.

A few replied and none was particularly certain.

Queensland Police HQ flat out refused to give legal advice. That’s strange since their officers give legal advice when they issue a fine!

How can a police officer on patrol confidently issue a ticket? How can they possibly have more knowledge on all the relevant road rules and laws than police HQ and relevant transport departments?

However, stranger things have happened and police have been found to incorrectly issue fines before.

Interestingly, Queensland Police have no concerns about action cameras and a previous state Police Minister actually suggested riders wear them for evidential reasons!

VicRoads just quoted us the usual Australian Standards stuff.

When we pointed out that the standard only applies at the point of purchase, they agreed.

They also admitted there is “no road rule specific to brake lights fitted to helmets” and said it would be open to police interpretation of the rules.

Great. So, no firm decision!

Novelty coversNovelty santa xmas motorcycle helmet cover

We had similar concerns over the legality of wearing novelty helmet covers such as Santa hats won on charity toy runs.

On both issues, most police say that so long as the attachment doesn’t interfere with the function or safety of the helmet it can be attached.

But how do we know it won’t affect the safety of the helmet?

Safety experts say helmets are designed so that in a crash and slide, nothing will catch on the ground and rotate your head, leading to neck injuries. But there is no empirical evidence to prove it does adversely affect safety.

Victorian Police were the sole objectors to Santa and other novelty helmet covers.Novelty santa xmas motorcycle helmet cover

On the issue of the brake light, they said helmets must comply to the Australian Standards.

“As far as I am aware (the standards) do not allow for the attachments to motorcycle helmets to be made,” the spokeswoman said.

South Australia police said it was an ADR issue, but the brake light is not attached to the bike, so how could that affect helmet compliance?

Western Australia police flick-passed it to the light manufacturer to work with each helmet manufacturer to ensure that the helmet remains legal according to Australian Standards when the light is attached.

That’s virtually impossible. Do they know how many helmet manufacturers there are in the world!

WA police say you cannot alter the structure of an approved helmet by drilling holes, placing stickers or painting a helmet.

“So sticky adhesive pads for accessories are dependent on the quality of the helmet,” they say.

Conclusion

Our answer is “user beware”!

If you’re like Raphael, you may think your safety is more important than risking the off-chance of a fine.

The onus is then on the rider to challenge a fine in court and risk the ensuing costs.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com