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One size doesn’t necessarily fit all – protecting yourself from a Head Injury whilst using your Motorbike

20 November 2018

Motorcyclists make up 21% of road fatalities despite only being 1% of road users. This clearly shows just how vulnerable motorcyclists are when compared to other types of road users.

The current law is that when using a motorcycle or moped you must wear a safety helmet that meets British Standards. Helmets are important as they are designed to absorb the impact of a collision to the brain in case of an accident.

The advice from the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) is that it is incredibly important for the helmet to fit the Motorcyclist properly. This should be the main concern when purchasing a helmet, rather than whether it is aesthetically pleasing. To illustrate this, a comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents across Europe showed that 12% of helmets were lost during the course of an impact as a result of it not fitting the rider properly. SHARP award ratings of between 1 and 5 stars to show how well helmets perform over and above the minimum legal requirements.

The advice therefore is to avoid buying a helmet online and to actually go into a shop for professional advice and to ensure that the helmet fits you correctly. After all, a helmet that comes straight off of you in a collision will provide no protection at all.

There is detailed advice on the SHARP website. However, in brief, their guidance for ensuring your helmet fits is as follows:

  1. Know your helmet size
    Your safety is too important to guess your size. Before trying on any helmets, you need to make sure you know your exact head size.

  2. Is the helmet comfortable?
    Make sure you can feel the helmet against the whole of your head without feeling ‘pressure points’ or the helmet leaving red marks.

  3. Does the helmet feel secure?
    If the helmet slips or moves from your head when moving your head, it is the wrong size.

  4. Will the helmet stay on in the event of a road traffic accident?
    With the chin strap done up, tilt your head forward. Ask someone to try and roll the helmet off your head by carefully pushing the helmet up at the rear, from the base. If you can roll it off your head in a showroom, it will come off in a crash.

With the chin strap done up, tilt your head forward. Ask someone to try and roll the helmet off your head by carefully pushing the helmet up at the rear, from the base. If you can roll it off your head in a showroom, it will come off in a crash.

There are numerous styles of helmets, but the three main designs are the full face, ¾, and the ½ helmet. In regards to safety, the full face helmet is the safest choice of the three. The full face helmet offers you the most protection from weather, debris and insects. One of the distinguishing features of a full face helmet is the chin bar. Only a full face helmet will keep your mouth, chin and jaw safe from an impact.

Although the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Britain’s Roads is falling in part due to an increased awareness of the need to be safe, motorcyclists are still 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than a car occupant per mile travelled.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident or as a result of poor advice from your helmet not fitting you properly our solicitors can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Please contact us on 01483 543200 and ask to speak to one of the Personal Injury team and they will happily speak to you further about this.

Further Reading
  • Road Safety Week: Pedestrian versus Bicycle – Where do I stand? (read article)
  • Road Safety Week: Keeping children safe on bicycles (read article)
  • Road Safety Week: Saving lives with the ‘Dutch Reach’ (read article)
  • Road Safety Week – Cycle Safety Infographic (read article)