Motorcycle Helmets To Wear or Not To Wear
What makes up a helmet? • Rigid Outer Shell • Made of Polycarbonate Plastic or Fiber-reinforced composits • Made to compress and disperse the energy of an impact • Impact-absorbing Liner • Usually made of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) • Absorbs the shock as the helmet stops and your head wants to keep on moving. • Comfort Padding • Soft foam and cloth liner • Keeps you comfortable and ensures the helmet fits snugly
Different Certifications • DOT certification: • Developed in 1966 • Defined in U.S. Department of Transportation Sec. 571.218 Standard No. 218 FMVSS 218 - 49 CFR 571.218 • Helmet is dropped from a height of 6 feet onto a flat and a hemispherical anvil • Peak accelerations to a headform inside the helmet may not exceed 400g • An acceleration in excess of 200g may not last for more than 2.0ms • Acceleration in excess of 150g may not last for more than 4.0ms • Snell Certification: • Continually updated – Last revision was in 2005 • Impact Test – Two hits on the same spot. • The first hit is an impact of 150 joules, corresponding to dropping a 5 kilo weight from 10 feet • Second hit has an energy of 110 joules, or about an 8 foot drop • No more than 300g can be transmitted in either impact • A much tougher standard than the DOT impact
Problems with Statistics • Each side of a debate will attempt to use statistics to prove their point of view • In the case of motorcycle helmets, this is a major problem
A Helmet May Save Your Life • NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of a crash fatality by 37% • Head injury is the leading cause of death in a motorcycle crash • Almost all examinations of crashed helmets indicated that the energy of the impact was less than that of a 10 foot fall
Why would someone not wear a helmet? • A helmet can interfere with a rider’s ability to hear and see. • In hot climates, a helmet can quickly contribute to fatigue and exhaustion, greatly increasing the risk of any accident. • In certain accidents, while a helmet may decrease the risk of a head injury, it could actually increase the possibility of neck injuries.
Personal Choice • There is a trade off between personal comfort and safety. • Nothing can protect a rider perfectly at all times. • A well informed individual must make their own decision.