Helmet

Unless you fall vertically onto the top of your head, dinky helmets are no use

The job of the helmet is to protect your head. To do that it must cover it all over. "Dinky" or skull-cap helmets just cover the top of your head. Unless you fall vertically onto the top of your head, dinky helmets are no use. Dinky helmets dont protect the number one head accident location - your face. At high speeds, rain can bruise your face. So when it rains, these “brave” skull-cap wearers must “toddle along” slowly. They must go slow because they have no face pretection. If they go faster, their faces will hurt. Cars whoosh past them in a wet flurry, which on a motorcycle is dangerous. To protect your head, get a full face helmet.

Full-face Helmets

A full-face helmet protects all your head from all the turmoil of riding

Most head accidents involve the face, so get a full-face helmet to protect it. They protect your face and chin from damage, and also keep out wind and road noise. A full-face helmet protects you from flying road debris, like stones thrown up by cars. Your eyes are too fragile to ride at speed without a visor. You can buy goggles, but why bother? It is just one more thing to worry about. Wind rush affects your eyes, ears (the noise) and skin. A full-face helmet protects all your head from all the turmoil of riding. Your head contains your brain, and your brain deserves a full-face helmet.

Helmet fit

What you want is a firm fit.

A helmet that is too loose, could slip off in a crash. However a helmet that pinches or rubs is distracting. What you want is a firm fit. When you move your head from side to side, the helmet should not move. Fit a new helmet as snugly as you can, as with time, the foam padding inside compresses, which loosens the fit.

Helmet visibility

Your helmet should be visible (white is good) and reflective. If not, put reflective tape on the sides and back.

Visor

Make sure the visor is scratch proof

The visor is how you see, so make sure the visor is scratch proof. Otherwise, over time you wont be able to see. If your visor fogs up in hot, wet weather, then you cant see either. Check the helmet has good vents to ensure an air flow to stop fogging. The visor should also click up and down, to hold in set positions. This is useful in hot humid weather.

Straps

The best helmets have a fail-safe, one-click, mechanism

A good helmet should “click and secure" easily. When someone is injured because their helmet “flew off” in an accident, the straps were not secured properly. The best helmets have a fail-safe, one-click, mechanism. You push the straps together, and the click tells you they are secure. An alternative is the two-ring tie up, where one strap must be folded back through two rings. It works, but is fiddly, and depends on you doing it right.

The Helmet flip

This stops irritating hair sticking out the helmet front

To put on your helmet, hold it by its straps in two hands in front of you. Flip the helmet front up to press on your forehead, then slide it back over your head in one easy back motion. This stops irritating hair sticking out the helmet front. If like me you wear glasses, take them off first and do the above with your glasses in your hand. Once the helmet is on, slip the glasses back on your face.

The Strap "tug"

Did I clip my helmet?

It is possible to put your helmet on, but forget to tie the straps. Maybe you got distracted. Once you are riding, you may wonder "Did I clip my helmet?". You cant tell, as it feels tight, but in a crash your helmet could fly off. This negates the whole point of having a helmet. If you dont feel like stopping, a simple check is the helmet strap tug - just pull the strap. If it is clipped, there is resistance. Otherwise, stop immediately and do it up. Believe me, I am careful, but every so often I ride off with an unclipped helmet! This is like riding without a helmet at all. The helmet strap tug takes just a second, and is always worth doing.