Tag Archives: Helmet

Nexx adds stealth carbon helmet

Portuguese helmet manufacturer Nexx has added a matte black stealth version to its X.R2 carbon range called the Dark Vision.

But is it just adding to our dangerous “invisibility” on the road?’

Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You (SMIDSY) crashes are among the most common involving motorcycles.

I have written many articles about the numerous studies into the SMIDSY phenomenon.

The causes are just as numerous and include:

However, safety is a shared responsibility, so riders have to accept some of the blame in SMIDSY crashes and should do their best to avoid them by being seen and heard.

This can mean moving around on the road to attract attention, slowing down, beeping the horn to alert drivers and some suggest a loud muffler can help.

While I don’t advocate mandatory bright riding gear, a rider on a matte black bike with a matching helmet and jacket must admit they are a stealth machine that is camouflaged to match the tarmac.

Many riders choose black because it doesn’t show the road grime as much as lighter colours.

And no motorcycle accessories manufacturer ever went broke making loads of black gear.

However, we really can’t lay 100% blame on a driver for not seeing us if we dress that way.

Stealth helmet

Nexx X.R2 Carbon stealth helmet
Dark vision

Getting back to the Nexx stealth helmet, like the X.R2 Carbon and Carbon Zero, the Dark Vision Carbon has a lightweight carbon fibre shell in two sizes — XS-L and XL-XXXL.

The only difference is that it is matte black with a tiny yellow stripe on the chin.

It includes their Air Dynamic System with five intakes on the front and four exhaust vents on the back, so it should be cool in summer.

Inside is a three-layer EPS to absorb impact absorption and a removable and washable CoolMax 3D lining.

It also has Ergo Padding System which means you can select different sized padding for a perfect fit.

Other features are a double D-ring fastener, chin spoiler and anti-scratch polycarbonate Lexan visor with central lock system that has a FastShot system for quick removal.

NEXX helmets usually rate three out of five stars in the highly acknowledged SHARP helmet safety ratings.

The entire production process of NEXX helmets is done in Portugal and not outsourced to other countries as many other helmet manufacturers do.

They boast a team of more than 160 workers skilled in helmet shell sculpture, leather manipulation, stitching, paintwork and engineering. Every helmet has to pass more than 50 control steps.

There is no word yet on prices in Australia, but they are available overseas for $US599.95 (about $A830).

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

No joke: HJC launches Joker helmet

HJC Helmets has had a long association with Marvel Comics and Star Wars and now they add the DC Comics RPHA 11 Pro Joker helmet to their collections.

Of course you’ll pay up to an extra $100 for the privilege of following your nerdy fashion tastes, but who cares when you can look like a super hero or, in this case, the Joker super-villain?

The Joker helmet is designed for road and track use and has an aerodynamic shell structure composed of HJC’s Premium Integrated Matrix (P.I.M. Plus) shell material.

They claim it improves the helmet’s shock-resistance and helps the helmet save some weight.

The HJC RPHA 11 Pro Joker is DOT and ECE 22.05 certified and costs $US599.99 in the US and €599.90 in Europe. There is no word yet on its arrival in Australia or price.

Joker will come in three shell sizes from XS to XXL with a five-year warranty.

Joker features:HJC Joker helmet

  • Full-face helmet, without sun visor
  • Fiber manufacturing (Pim +)
  • 3 different shell sizes depending on the size of the helmet for weight and compactness
  • Double-D ring buckle
  • Foam extraction system facilitated for emergency response
  • Ventilation integrated into the hull
  • Quick screen disassembly, 20 mm HJ screen, semi-flat shape for vision
  • Secure screen closure with double clasp
  • Sizes: XS to XXL

Comics

HJC owns the rights to use Marvel and DC Comics characters to decorate their helmets.

They have produced models such as Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman, Batman, Punisher, Venom and Youth Avengers.

HJC releases Star Wars and Marvel helmets Spider and Venom
Spider and Venom

HJC also has deals wth the Star Wars franchise and has released RPHA-11 Star Wars helmets, Boba Fett, Kylo Ren and Death Trooper.

Safe helmets

The Korean-made HJC S-17 and FG-ST models are very safe scoring a maximum five stars in the recognised Sharp helmets rating system.

The FG-17 scores four stars, RPHA-11 rates three stars, while the CL-XY II is not listed in the ratings. However, the CL-ST gets three stars.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Wait for Sena Outrush modular helmet

Sena has released its first modular helmet with built-in intercom, but Australians will have to wait for the Outrush as it has still not been Euro-approved for sale here.

At the moment it is only DOT approved for North American markets.

There is no announcement yet on how long Aussie and European riders will have to wait or how much it will cost.

I have reviewed and recommend both the Sena Momentum Lite full face and Savage open-face helmets.

Sena Outrush

In the US, the Outrush comes in matte black and gloss white in sizes small through extra large for just $US199 (about $A280).

That’s amazing since the Savage costs $US299 (about $A421) and is available here for $A499.Sena Outrush modular helmet

So the Outrush should only cost in the low $A300s.

Yet it comes with all the features of the other helmets with integrated Sena Bluetooth technology.

  • They include:
    Jog-dial control
  • HD Intercom Mode
  • Bluetooth 3.0 integration
  • Smartphone connectivity
  • 2-way Intercom
  • 800m range
  • 15 hours talk time
  • 3-hour charge time
  • 5-year warrantySena Outrush modular helmet

The modular helmet comes with a retractable sun visor, multi-density EPS liner and three-way ventilation.

It has a quick-release ratchet strap instead of a D-ring for quick and easy fastening and removal.

Fans of modular helmets like their practicality, versatility and ease of putting them on and taking them off wth your glasses still on.

Some say they can also fill up at the servo without having to remove the helmet.

However, there may be issues with the helmets not having the safe structural integrity of a full-face helmet.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Hightail solves helmet hair issue

One of the biggest issues women cite with riding is how to deal with helmet hair, but now Aussie invention Hightail may have solved the problem.

Hightail ($A55) is simply a hair net device that attaches to the back of the helmet and holds long hair in place. Obviously, it works for long-haired men as well as women!

Inventors Jen Burch and Jon Dazeley of Sydney say Hightail stops long hair from splitting, breaking and becoming tangled in the wind.Hightail helmet hair

There are many specialty scarves and ties on the market that promise to deal with helmet hair.

Some work with long hair, some with short hair, but all of them you place in your hair.

“The key difference with Hightail is it attaches to the helmet, so there is no extra steps to use,” Jon says.

“It also means you can have a slow-mo movie moment when you take the helmet off and your hair cascades down.”

Hightail origin

Jen and Jon came up with the idea on a ride from Sydney to the Snowy Mountains.

“It was a long ride and Jen’s hair came loose from where she normally had it tucked down her jacket,” Jon says.Hightail helmet hair

“It was a tangled mess when we got to Jindabyne. We were cold, hungry and the tangled drama was not fun!”

So they set about inventing the Hightail for which a patent is now pending.

Hightail reviewHightail helmet hair

Jon sent me a Hightail for review even though he noted “you don’t have enough hair to review the product (neither to I) but maybe you could suggest someone you know”.

I did and she says it is easy to use and works just fine, m even with “product” in your hair.

Instructions are included with the product, but it’s best to watch this video featuring Jen for a more comprehensive explanation of how to attach the device, even though it is really rather simple.

Jon says Hightail will fit on most helmets but some can be problematic.

“If you are concerned about the particular helmet you want to install, please let us know the make and model and we will be able give some insight,” he says.

About the inventors

Hightail helmet hair
Jen and Jon

Jen grew up in the American Naval town oif Virginia Beach, joined the Navy in 2001 and was shipped to Japan three years later where she bought a Suzuki GSXF 400 Slingsling to get around.

She meet Kiwi-born Jon through Eharmony in 2013, when he was transferred to the US office of by his Sydney company.

Jon returned to Australia six weeks later and managed to convince Jen to first come for a holiday and then move to Sydney permanently in 2014.

Jen now rides a Triumph Bonneville while Jon, who has been riding most of his life, rides a Kawasaki GTR1400.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Helmet safety: How much is your head worth?

Just how much is your head worth? If it’s $A6250 then you’re in luck as that is also the price of the Berluti Veldt, the world’s most expensive helmet.

It even eclipses the carbon-fibre Arai Corsair-X RC at $A5600.

Arai corsair-x-rc woerth
Arai Corsair-X RC

Veldt is made on the Isle of Man and the Berluti helmet is a collaboration with famed Italian shoe manufacturer Alessandro Berluti.

It features a carbon fibre shell and “patinated” (aged) Venezia leather on the peak and around the visor opening and the bottom of the helmet.Veldt Berluti carbon and leather helmet

Fifty years ago a famous Bell Helmets ad campaign exclaimed “If you’ve got a $10 head, wear a $10 helmet!” 

Since then riders have asked how much their head is worth when they go to buy a helmet.

Many riders pay more for a renowned brand of helmet simply because they believe their head is worth it.

However, that is not always true.

We researched the ratings and prices of helmets using data from two websites: the NSW Transport Accident Commission “Crash” ratings and the British SHARP helmet safety scheme ratings.

It showed that even expensive helmets can rate lower in safety than much cheaper helmets. Click here for our results.

Fashion statement

But obviously helmets like the Veldt are more about fashion and exclusivity than just safety.

And you can’t put a price on fashion, can you?Hedonist helmet worth $711

Another example is this new limited-edition Hedon Wheels & Waves 2020 open-face Hedonist helmet worth $A711.

It is a little more than the usual Hedonist price of about $550-$700.

This model celebrates the famous motorcycle festival at the Biarritz lighthouse.

However, it’s not the most expensive open-face helmet in the world. In fact, the Hedonist ranges up to $882 for a metallic paint model.

The most expensive open-face helmet is also the Berluti Veldt helmet as it can be converted by unscrewing four allen bolts on the removable chin bar.

Click here to read our review of a Veldt helmet.

MBW reviews the Veldt helmet
MBW reviews the Veldt helmet

What is safety worth?

Any full-face helmet that is not a one-piece shell, such as modular or flip-up, must have compromised safety.

At least the Arai Corsair-X RC is race developed and a full one-piece shell.

Neither of the world’s two most expensive helmets has been tested by SHARP or CRASH as it would simply be too costly for them to destroy one for testing!

So if you value your head at this sort of price, are you putting your head in the hands of fashion designers rather than safety technicians?

Our advice on buying a helmet is to buy a moderately price helmet that rates four or five stars and replace it every four to five years.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Helmet intercoms to be crash tested

Helmet accessories such as intercoms and cameras must be crash-tested with the helmet type to be legal under new United Nations rules that come into effect from July 2023.

The changes are part of an upgrade to United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 22.05 standard which has been accepted for use in Australia since 2016.

New UN ECE 22.06 laws also include testing for head rotation in a crash, visor shatterproof durability and the ability of modular helmets to protect you when the chin bar is in place and when it is open.

UN ECE 22.06 rules will coexist with ECE 22.05 rules for a further three years, so there is no immediate impact for Aussie riders.

It is the first change to regulations for two decades.

Accessories crash-tested

Helmet still crash tested in Australia rated
Crash testing a helmet

Under the new rules, helmets with any proprietary accessories must be crash-tested with and without the accessories fitted.

This includes, integrated intercoms and cameras, peaks and visors.

Testing will measure adverse effects on energy absorption, sharp edges and field of vision.

As for aftermarket accessories, they will have to be fitted in accordance with the helmet manufacturer’s instructions.

Furthermore, all accessories will have to be tested with all types of helmet (full-face, open-face, modular, adventure, MX, etc).

The rules also says that helmets must not be modified from original manufacturer specification.

The Australian Motorcycle Council has pointed out that the EC rules only affect the helmet at the point of sale.

They say it should not impact on the owner’s desire to fit accessories, so long as they do not affect the integrity of the helmets.

For example, you shouldn’t drill holes in the helmet to fit them.

It is expected that with the rapid development of intercom and camera technology, many helmets may have standard inbuilt mounting cavities by the time 22.06 comes into force.

Other changes include:

Mark Taylor - Are modular helmets safe in a crash?
Nolan N104 modular helmet with internal sun visor
  • Modular helmets must be crash-tested with and without the chin guard in position;
  • Visors must be able to withstand the impact of a steel ball at 60m/s to ensure they don’t shatter, fracture or deform, while the visor housing must be capable of holding the visor in place and must not break;
  • Helmets will be tested for rotational forces in a crash;
  • Sun shields must be able to move separately from the visor and all helmets with a sun shield must be tested with the shield in its working position; and
  • Helmets may be required to have reflective stickers in some countries, so these must be supplied with the helmet at the point of sale with instructions on where and how to apply them.

Undoubtedly, these changes will make more expensive, but also safer.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Ducati launches new touring gear

If you love touring on your Ducati in Italian style, safety and comfort, you’re going to want the new touring range from the Borgo Panigale manufacturer.

Ducati Australia and New Zealand head of market Alana Baratto says the touring gear will arrive in November.

If you can’t wait, you can buy the gear online on shop.ducati.com.

Sport Touring C3 Jacket ($A789)Ducati touring gear

The Tour C3 sport-touring jacket, is produced by Spidi exclusively for Ducati with CE-certified protectors on shoulders and elbows. You can also fit a back protector.

The outer jacket, made of a mix of polyester fabrics, is equipped with large air vents and has a waterproof and breathable H2Out membrane.

The removable thermal lining can also be worn as a casual jacket.

It is designed to be worn zipped together with Tour C3 trousers.

It comes in a men’s cut in black/red and high-visibility black/ yellow, and for women in black/red.

Tour C3 Trousers ($A499)Ducati touring gear

The Tour C3 trousers are designed by Aldo Drudi and made in collaboration with Spidi Sport.

They also have the H2Out membrane, CE-certified shin and hip protectors, a removable lining, elastic fabric, and zipper-adjustable air vents.

The pants are tailored in different cuts for men and women.

Fabric-leather gloves Strada C4 ($A299)Ducati touring gear

These limited Strada C4 gloves are produced by Held exclusively for Ducati.

The exterior is made of cowhide, sheep leather and polyamide fabric.

Inside is a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane. However, the reduced thickness created by the Gore grip process still allows control sensitivity.

They also have SuperFabric inserts, volume adjustments on the wrist and are fully CE-certified.

Horizon helmet ($A999)Ducati touring gear

The Horizon composite fibre helmet is based on X-lite’s X-1004 shell, but designed by Drudi Performance.

This modular helmet is one of only a few flip-up designs approved to be worn while riding in the open position.

The chin guard has a dual safety opening system and ventilation system.

There is a removable and washable internal padding, a sun visor with UV 400 protection and reflex inserts for greater visibility.

Black Steel helmet ($A949)Ducati gear

The Black Steel helmet is based on the Arai Renegade V and designed by Drudi.

The outer shell is made of SFL fibre while the inner shell is made of EPS with differentiated density.

Its interior is made of antibacterial and washable fabric, the VAS visor has a wide field of view and the ventilation system is able to circulate about 14 litres of air per minute.

All Terrain Touring Boots ($A569)Ducati touring gear

These CE-approved, full grain leather and suede, all-terrain boots were made in collaboration with TCX.

They are equipped with a waterproof and breathable eVent membrane and a closure system with adjustable, interchangeable aluminium levers.

The boots have a rubber sole for maximum grip on the pegs and feature lined pleats to increase comfort.

Ducati Communication System V2 ($A569)Ducati gear

This intercom system with voice commands allows up to 15 motorcyclists to communicate simultaneously in a range up to 1.6km in “ideal conditions” and about 1km in “real conditions”.

The connection is automatic, activates by talking and goes off after 30 seconds of silence.

In case of interruption, the connection is automatically restored.

It is based on a Cardo Intercom System and allows the rider to make and answer calls, control mobile devices with the touch of a finger or a voice command and listen Bluetooth music or the integrated FM radio.

The volume of the device adjusts automatically according to the background noise.

It features universal connectivity with any Bluetooth headset of any brand.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Helmet safety scanner funding at halfway

A helmet scanner service that checks for hidden fractures in your helmet has reached the halfway point in investment funding.

The Helmet Doctors who developed the helmet laser scanner say it would give riders peace of mind that their helmet is safe to use after a drop or crash, or whether it needs to be replaced.

Helmet Doctors CFO Scott Robinson, who founded the venture with his son, Brayden, says they have raised half of the maximum amount of investment capital required to match a $1 million Federal Government grant.

“This means we are only looking for the remaining $500,000 to create a $2 million start towards a commercialisation rollout.

“A lot of potential investors are somewhat more cautious about start-up opportunities and as you know a lot of the sporting industries have been significantly impacted (FIA & FIM) in their day-to-day operations due to COVID 19.

“We have had an explosion of interest on who we are and what we do with an overwhelming amount of support for our services.”

Scanner support

Last year, the Sunshine Coast family business asked Motorbike Writer to publish a link to a survey about their service and received more than 430 respondents.

More than 70% of respondents supported a $40 helmet scanning service to check for hidden fractures in your helmet.

The survey was important in Helmet Doctors seeking government funding as they needed to know it would be well received by riders, racers and the motorcycle industry.

AusIndustry commercialisation advisors told the company that if we received 100 responses it would be good, 200 would be convincing and 300 would be conclusive.

Scott says they are “flat out like a lizard drinking” and now have staff trained and accredited in NDT laser techniques.

“We have had recent business presentations and talks with one of the major OEM companies about being a value-add service in their chain of stores,” Scott says.

“We will be talking in more detail of this potential partnership once COVID-19 restrictions are further relaxed and the business community can get back to some sort of normality.

Crash starts study

helmet doctors scanning
Brayden is taken away in the ambulance

Scott and Brayden began researching a helmet scanning system after Brayden was hospitalised with a fractured skull from a motocross crash.

They developed their device with the help of a Belgian company and the Composites Research Group in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering at The University of Queensland.

“We found this laser scanning technique can categorically guarantee that, if there is any damage to the helmet’s outer shell, our technique will identify it. It’s ground-breaking, proven science,” Scott says.

Need for scanning

Helmet Doctors laser scanning helmets
Helmet scanner

Scott says very few riders know exactly when to replace their helmet.

Manufacturing safety standards say a composite helmet has a lifespan of five years and, if used frequently, about three years.

But what if you drop it or have a crash?

“We have all heard how if you drop your helmet once you should replace it. But very few do this,” Scott says.

“No one knows how much impact a composite helmet can tolerate before the shell is critically weakened.

“Composite materials have many layers and tiny fibres that can be damaged in a fall.

“The impact energy is dispersed among the fibres and away from the brain which it is designed to do.

“This is why a dropped helmet may still look ok.

“However, the impact could have led to a small crack or splintering which you can’t see with the naked eye.

“Our device can view, read and record the helmet 100,000 times better than the naked eye and find if there are any cracks, splintering or deformations which would make the helmet defective and unable to withstand another impact.”

Helmet scanning scheme

Helmet Doctors laser scan helmets scanning
Helmet scan identifies a flaw

The Helmet Doctors plan to test their service first in South East Queensland.

Riders would take their helmet to a participating motorcycle dealer where they would leave it and pick it up a few days later.

The helmet would be sent to the nearest scanner depot where it would be scanned, assessed and returned.

“As you could imagine this experimental laser camera is very expensive, but our goal is to make this service accessible and cheap enough for everyone to use it,” Scott says.

If the project is successful, they hope to extend the service to other states and overseas.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

American state relaxes helmet laws

Most riders in the American state of Missouri will soon be able to ride without a helmet if they are aged 26 or more and have health insurance.

That leaves only 19 out of 50 states where all riders must wear a helmet.

This is not the first time Missouri has been attempted to repeal its helmet law.

Missouri voted in May 2019 to repeal its helmet laws, but Governor Mike Parson vetoed the Bill only because of a provision to confiscate licences of people who don’t pay fines for minor traffic offences.

The Governor had no qualms with allowing riders over 18 to decide whether they want to wear a helmet or not.

In fact, Parson supported repealing the helmet rule as a legislator.

So on Tuesday, he signed the proposal as part of wider legislation. The new helmet law will come into effect from 28 August 2020.

American laws

crash accident helmet Sturgis insurance claim

Missouri is not the only American state reversing mandatory helmet laws for all riders. There have been several in recent years including Nebraska which last year finally rejected the idea.

US helmet laws were introduced in 1966 when the feds withheld 10% of states highway construction funds unless they introduced certain safety regulations, including helmet laws.

Within a decade, 47 states had complied.

But in 1975, Congress amended the Highway Safety Act to prevent the use of federal highway funding as leverage against states.

Despite evidence of helmets protecting riders form death and severe head injury, 28 states have repealed their helmet laws with more likely to follow.

It seems strange to Australian riders since we were the first nation in the world to make helmets compulsory in 1961.

Most American states introduced compulsory helmet laws in 1967, but there is a growing movement toward “more freedom” for riders with a strong civil liberties lobby actively fighting the laws.

In recent years, states such as Michigan have relaxed their helmet laws and the latest to consider the move is Tennessee, despite the overwhelming evidence that helmets save lives.

Safety

As Dudley (William H Macy) tells Woody (John Travolta) in “Wild Hogs”: “62 per cent of all motorcycle fatalities could be prevented with the use of an approved DOT helmet.”

Liberal helmet laws
Wild Hogs

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 could have been saved had they worn helmets.

Yet, the use of motorcycle helmets in the US continues to decline to about half from 71% in 2000.

So the temptation when you visit America is to try some of that freedom for yourself.

I must admit to having tried it a few times, usually at slow speeds around town, but on one occasion at the speed limit on an Indiana highway.

While I felt very vulnerable, I have to admit it was absolutely exhilarating … but also deafening.

The wind in your hair is one thing, but the wind in your ears is another.

It also blows your hat off! I’m surprised Billy in Easy Rider could ride without getting his cowboy hat blown off.

Liberal helmet laws
Motorbike Writer in Indiana

State laws

When you are again able to fly to the United States, maybe for Daytona Bike Week in March or the Sturgis Rally in August, don’t get too excited about not wearing a motorcycle helmet.

As soon as you get off the plane in California, you will have to wear a helmet to ride. In fact, 20 states, mainly on the west and east coasts of the US, have compulsory helmet laws.

American states with motorcycle helmet laws for all riders are: Alabama, California, DC, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Only three states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) have no helmet use law.

The remaining 28 states have varying laws requiring minors to wear a motorcycle helmet while six of those states require adult riders to have $10,000 in insurance and wear a helmet in their first year of riding.

About half the states also allow you to ride a low-powered motorcycle such as a 50cc bike or scooter without a helmet.

State Riders Required To Have Helmets
Alabama All riders
Alaska 17 and younger
Arizona 17 and younger
Arkansas 20 and younger
California All riders
Colorado 17 and younger and passengers 17 and younger
Connecticut 17 and younger
Delaware 18 and younger
District of Columbia All riders
Florida 20 and younger
Georgia All riders
Hawaii 17 and younger
Idaho 17 and younger
Illinois No law
Indiana 17 and younger
Iowa No law
Kansas 17 and younger
Kentucky 20 and younger
Louisiana All riders
Maine 17 and younger
Maryland All riders
Massachusetts All riders
Michigan 20 and younger
Minnesota 17 and younger
Mississippi All riders
Missouri All riders (changes on 28 Aug 2020)
Montana 17 and younger
Nebraska All riders
Nevada All riders
New Hampshire No law
New Jersey All riders
New Mexico 17 and younger
New York All riders
North Carolina All riders
North Dakota 17 and younger
Ohio 17 and younger
Oklahoma 17 and younger
Oregon All riders
Pennsylvania 20 and younger
Rhode Island 20 and younger
South Carolina 20 and younger
South Dakota 17 and younger
Tennessee All riders
Texas 20 and younger
Utah 17 and younger
Vermont All riders
Virginia All riders
Washington All riders
West Virginia All riders
Wisconsin 17 and younger
Wyoming 17 and younger

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Statistics & KY Helmet Laws

(Contributed post)

Should Kentucky motorcycle riders wear helmets?

There were 122,360 motorcycles registered in Kentucky as of 2018, according to the Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts, 2018 Report (Collision Report). And while motorcycles are part of less than 1% of all collisions, they amount to 7% of fatal accidents. Riders need to be aware that though the risk of a crash is low, the likelihood of being seriously injured or killed in a collision isn’t negligible.

One of the factors that can determine whether a collision results in a fatality is whether riders wear helmets. Kentucky doesn’t have a universal helmet law. A vast majority of riders can decide not to wear a helmet—and many do. But what is the consequence of this choice? Many could argue the outcome is unnecessary injuries and deaths.

Kentucky Helmet Laws

As of 1998, Kentucky has limited helmet laws, according to Kentucky Safety Facts, published by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Previously, Kentucky had a universal helmet law in place, which was originally enacted in 1968.

Currently, a rider is required to wear a helmet only if they:

  • Are under 21 years old;
  • Possess a motorcycle instruction permit; or
  • Have held an operator’s license for less than one year.

In general, young and inexperienced riders must have helmets. But riders who have held a license for over one year and are older than 21 years old can forgo this safety equipment.

The real question is, are Kentuckians wearing helmets? The answer appears to be that a little over half of riders are using helmets. In 2017, 60% of riders surveyed wore helmets, according to the Collision Report. (Kentucky didn’t gather data for 2018.) This figure was down from 68% in 2015.

Motorcycle Crashes in Kentucky

The Kentucky State Police reported 1,494 motorcycles were involved in collisions in the state in 2018, according to the Collision Report. This amounted to only 0.61% of all collisions—a negligent amount. Passenger cars and trucks were far more likely to be involved in a crash at 90.98 percent, followed by large trucks at 4.35 percent.

Fatal Motorcycle Crashes: Do Helmets Matter?

When it came to fatal collisions, motorcycles played a bigger role. In 2018, 86 motorcycles were involved in deadly crashes, amounting to 7.47% of all fatal collisions and 88 deaths, according to the Collision Report.

Riders might wonder whether helmets play a significant role in preventing motorcycle fatalities. The numbers suggest they do. In 2018, 54 motorcycle riders were killed when they weren’t using a helmet, while 34 riders who used a helmet were killed.

There also was a difference between the number of motorcyclists injured while wearing a helmet vs. not. The same year, 536 motorcycle riders were injured while not using a helmet, while 496 were injured while wearing a helmet.

Kentucky lawmakers know helmet laws matter. When legislators repealed Kentucky’s universal helmet law in 1998, motorcycle facilities increased over 50%, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities up to 37% and brain injuries up to 65%.

Additionally, in May 2020, motorcycle safety awareness month, Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula encouraged motorcyclists to wear protective gear, including helmets, according to ABC 13 WBKO.

Motorcyclists Follow Universal Helmet Laws

There’s little debate about it: universal helmet laws that require all or nearly all riders to wear helmets are effective. The U.S. General Accounting Office reviewed nine separate studies and found between 92% and 100% helmet use in states with universal helmet laws. When helmets are required, a vast majority of riders wear them. They obey the law.

In contrast, between 42% and 59% of riders use helmets in states with limited helmet laws. When helmets become optional, many riders choose not to wear them despite their clear safety benefit.

Should Kentucky Motorcyclists Wear Helmets?

Though most motorcycle riders in Kentucky aren’t required to wear helmets, they should. Studies have confirmed that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury and death.

Wearing a helmet is even more important when riders consider minimum auto insurance requirements vs. the average cost of a head injury. Motorists in Kentucky are required to carry minimum liability insurance of $25,000 for bodily injuries per person, $50,000 for all bodily injuries per crash, and $25,000 for property damage. 

Serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), will cost much more than a minimum auto insurance policy will cover, even if the rider has health insurance. Victims of a motorcycle crash will need to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer to recover as much compensation as possible from the negligent driver.

Treating a TBI is expensive, and a rider who sustained a moderate-to-severe TBI might need years of treatment or even lifelong care. The cost of a TBI is exasperated by the likelihood of unemployment in the years following. The lifetime cost of treating a TBI can vary between $85,000 and $3 million, according to Dr. Chandi Edmonds, previously the director of clinical education in the Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science Department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

By wearing helmets, despite the legal requirement to do so, motorcyclists reduce the risk of suffering a head injury that could lead to pain and suffering, physical and cognitive disability, unemployment, and extensive medical debt.

Choosing the Right Helmet

The Kentucky Motorcycle Manual provides more information on choosing the right helmet. Whether the rider chooses a full-face or three-quarter helmet style, it should be designed to meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s standards. 

The helmet should fit snugly and have no visible defects, like loose padding or cracks. Riders should wear the helmet firmly secured to prevent it from coming off during a collision. They also should also consider a brightly colored helmet or a helmet with reflectors to help other motorists see them at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com