If you ride a motorcycle, you’ve probably heard that motorcycle helmets are key to staying safe on the road. Whether you’re not convinced by the reasons to wear one or you have riding partners who prefer to feel the wind in their hair, riding without a helmet is extremely dangerous. Here are a few of the top reasons you and your partners should always slip on your helmets.
How Motorcycle Helmets Work
Helmets prevent serious brain injuries by softening the amount of force that reaches your brain after you collide with something. Most of them have foam layers, which absorb the shock of impact. For example, if you fall off your bike and hit the ground during an accident, your skull could be crushed by the impact. Instead, the foam reduces the force so you simply have a concussion or bruise.
Cruiser motorcycle helmets and other styles are useful for protecting your head once, but you usually need a replacement after getting in an accident. Even if your helmet looks all right from the outside, the foam is probably crushed and therefore unable to handle another blow. Generally, helmets with polypropylene foam or butyl nitrate foam can take multiple impacts, but those with polystyrene foam cannot. When in doubt, replace your helmet.
How Motorcycle Helmets Have Saved Lives
Motorcycle helmets are not always enough to prevent death or serious injuries. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection estimate that they save almost 2,000 cyclists’ lives in the United States every year.
Models such as 4XL motorcycle helmets prevent serious head trauma, reducing riders’ risk of comas, traumatic brain injuries, subarachnoid hemorrhages, and subdural hemorrhages. All of these injuries can lead to death or lifelong illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Motorcycle helmets also immediately prevent death in some cases. Sometimes hemorrhages in the brain are so severe that victims die on the site. Other times, people’s skulls suffer so much trauma that they die on impact with vehicles or obstacles in the road.
How You Can Prevent More Injuries
By riding your motorcycle with a helmet, even if your state does not require it, you reduce your chance of serious injuries and death. This practice allows you to enjoy motorcycle rides for as long as possible.
When you wear your helmet, you also contribute to a culture of helmet-wearing among motorcyclists. You remind other cyclists about the importance of following safety regulations, even if you’re just passing them on the highway. At pit stops, get to know other riders and ask about their stance on helmets. Your example can save them from devastating injuries or death, especially if they are young or new to riding.
To prevent even more injuries, get involved with motorcycle safety organizations in your state. You could lobby your state to pass stricter helmet laws or speak to motorcycle groups such as the American Motorcyclist Association about promoting safe riding.
Riding a motorcycle is fun but dangerous, so make sure to wear your helmet every time you set out.