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Use your head – Find the right motorbike helmet

Posted 16.03.16 | By Dan Smith

Use your head – Find the right motorbike helmet

It sounds a little morbid, but when you’re picking out your motorcycle helmet, you need to be dressing for a potential crash, not for looking good. Of course, there are great helmets out there that tick both the “safety” and “style” boxes, but safety always needs to come first when making your decision.

Helmet manufacturers, safety experts and the government all recommend replacing your lid every five years, but 41% of us are still wearing helmets past that guideline. Even if your helmet is undamaged, the likelihood is that every day wear and tear, as well as degradation of materials such as the glues and resin, has reduced the lid’s performance.

Buying a new lid: What you need to consider

When buying your new helmet, take your time. This isn’t a decision to be made in an instant. Carefully consider the options, marking them against the below criteria to ensure you find the best helmet for you.

Safety

Each helmet has to pass either British or EU safety standards, having been put through a rigorous series of independent crash tests. Each lid is given a star rating out of five by SHARP, the government helmet safety scheme. Ensure yours has a high rating to ensure the best safety.

Fit

The perfect fit is essential to ensuring your helmet actually works. No matter how safe your helmet is in theory, if it doesn’t fit right it could come loose in a crash – something that research has shown occurs in 12% of accidents.

A poorly fitted helmet can also lead to fatigue and neck pains due to the helmet moving around too much. For the best fit, you want it to feel snug against your head, with minimal movement when you move it and your head around. Make sure you get your head measured, but then you must also try on the helmet. Everyone’s head is different so keep it on for a few minutes to ensure it’s comfortable all the way around your head.

Colour

Not everyone wants a bright neon helmet, but making sure it stands out in some way is essential to making sure you’re seen by drivers and other bikers. Most accidents are caused by drivers being unable to see the rider, so this is a great way to ensure you’re always visible.

Reviews

There’s a lot you can’t actually check just by trying on a helmet. Luckily, the Internet provides you with many bikers who have experienced the helmets first hand and their reviews can be an important guidepost to the perfect helmet. Look out for how well ventilated it is, how well it stands up to weather (including fogging) and how noisy the helmets can get. These are all things that you need to have first-hand experience of and, when buying, you don’t get that luxury. Checking reviews of your helmet shortlist is a great idea and can save you experiencing buyer’s remorse later on.

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