We’ve all heard at least one story about someone who’s had a motorcycle accident. Some people are lucky, others not so much. Sadly, some never make it.
The lucky ones recover fully, the not so lucky have their lives changed forever. And those who don’t make it are mourned by the ones who love them.
Gary Busey comes to mind. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, Busey was a serious motorcycle enthusiast. In 1988 he was severely injured in an accident when while NOT wearing a helmet. His skull was fractured as his head collided with the curb. This caused permanent brain damage, and as a result Busey now speaks and acts impulsively and without social filters.
Had Busey been wearing a helmet, his life today could be much different.
Consider what makes a helmet effective in providing protection – the first most obvious factor is coverage. A half-shell or beanie helmet covers the least amount of your head, while a three-quarter or open-face helmet covers everything but your face. If you were to be asked which offers more protection, the answer’s easy – it’s the three-quarter or open-face helmet.
But what happens then when you compare a modular or flip-face helmet with a full-face helmet? Both have the same amount of coverage, but which offers more protection? This isn’t so easy, because you have to look at more than just the coverage.
The full-face helmet provides more protection because the shell is one solid piece. While the modular or flip-face has a chin bar that is connected by two hinge points and two latches, which could break in certain types of impacts.
So now you’re saying to yourself, “OK! Got it - full-face helmets are more protective than any other type of helmet.”
Well, not so fast. That WOULD be the case if all the helmet ratings were equal. But there are different helmet ratings that change the requirements for protection.
Most motorcycle riders in the USA. are familiar with the DOT rating FMVSS 218, which is the minimum set of standards a helmet must meet to be legally worn when riding a motorcycle in the United States. Click the link for the complete details on DOT FMVSS 218.
Somewhat fewer will be familiar with the SNELL rating. SNELL M2020 is a set of standards put in place by the Snell Memorial Foundation. This is a voluntary testing procedure and is only required by certain race organizations. Click the link for the complete details on SNELL M2020.
Another standard becoming more common in the USA is ECE 22.05. This is the Economic Commission for Europe’s standard, which some argue as better than SNELL for protection.
With both SNELL and ECE performing multiple tests, either rating is a significant improvement over DOT. Click the link for the complete details on ECE 22.05.
Finally in the USA. a relatively new standard FIM has been starting to show up on certain models of helmets. The safety criteria are set up by motorcycling’s global racing organization for track use. Typically, FIM-rated helmets are hard to find due to the strictness of the standards. Click the link for the complete details on FIM.
It’s important to note, however, that NONE of those will be of much benefit if the helmet doesn’t fit you properly. With most helmet shapes falling into one of three categories – long-oval, intermediate-oval, or round-oval – it’s important to find the right shape for your head.
- A long-oval helmet shape is noticeably longer front to back than it is side to side. Think about looking at an axe head from the top down.
- An intermediate-oval shape is slightly longer front to back than side to side. This is the most common helmet shape. Think about the shape of an egg.
- A round-oval shape is almost identical front to back as it is side to side. Think of looking down at a ball.
With all these things to consider, stop into Eagle Leather today and let one of our experts help you find the perfect fit.
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