In the world of bike riders, there’s an apparent superstitious belief that goes like this :” Drop your helmet, drop your head.”
This adage paints a very disturbing picture in the mind ,and it’s not one that a lot people would want to happen.
However, there’s no supporting evidence to show that putting your helmet on the floor is bad luck. And when you think about it , a lot of folks out there have dropped their helmets at some point in time and nothing ever happened .
The only damage that could put your helmet in the scrap-zone is if its placed in the path of an oncoming object, like a car or truck. This could damage it, and leave you at risk in the case of a major accident .
Does dropping a bike helmet ruin it?
Helmets may look tough , but that doesn’t mean they can’t be ruined . Dropping a bike helmet doesn’t actually ruin it , but it may have a few minor scratches and dents .
The amount of damaged done often depends on the amount of force that strikes the helmet while making contact with the floor.
The only time it can really get ruined, is if it falls off from a distant height ,or, it collides with an object that’s moving with a great momentum.
But it’s advisable to change your helmet every five years . This is because the binding material used in making them tend to wear over time, and may not be able to protect your head so well .
Should I replace my helmet if I drop it?
The answer to this depends on the magnitude of the damage , and I’ll explain using an egg as an example .
Take a hard-boiled egg and strike it gently. You’ll notice there’s a crack on the surface but underneath the crack , you’ll see a white lining that’s still separating and protecting the constituents of the egg.
Striking the egg a second ,or third time could destroy the lining , and expose its constituents . This is the same thing that happens to helmets when they’re dropped to the floor.
Good helmets tend to have their exteriors made from fibers that disperse force on impact. But hitting them over and over doesn’t guarantee protection , just like in the illustration of the egg .
This is why many manufacturers advise replacing helmets after major accidents . This is done to guarantee the safety of the product , while avoiding lawsuits.
But it’s advisable to change helmets every once in 5 years depending on how damaged you think it might be .
Where do you put your helmet when you park your motorcycle?
Leaving your helmet unlocked and attached to your bike could put your gear at risk of being stolen or destroyed. And If you’re parking in a sketchy neighborhood , carrying your helmet around is probably the best option.
However, this might be a little inconvenient ,especially if your helmet is the bulky type. Carrying a backpack along is a good idea for keeping your helmet and at the same time taking it along with you .
Another alternative would be to use a helmet lock . These locks come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchased according to your specifications.
Some folks prefer pannier boxes which is another nice alternative , but they are often sold separately.
What can you do to prevent a helmet from being damaged?
A helmet is more fragile than you can imagine , and taking precautionary steps in keeping it safe could save you a lot in terms of replacement, safety and aesthetics.
Here are a few tips that could help keep your helmet from damage:
- Treat your helmet like it was fragile by not dropping it . This is because the impact from a fall often creates a force that causes shocks that destroys the fibers of the helmet’s interior . This generally weakens the fibers in the helmet, and reduces the level of protection .
- Avoid using detergents or harsh surface cleaners that react with the helmet’s exterior and weaken its layers
- Avoid stickers on your helmet. This is because some helmets are made from polycarbonate , and it will often react with the glue from stickers ,thus weakening the exterior surface.
- Avoid keeping your helmet near fuels or volatile fluids, as these can cause damage to the materials used in making the helmet
How do you tell if a helmet has been dropped?
One way of finding if your helmet has been dropped is by inspecting for crack signs or openings in the exterior . This can be done by using your hand and feeling the surface for splits and cracks .
Once an opening can be seen visibly , then it means the helmet is no longer safe for use ,hence it should be tossed into the garbage.
One golden rule suggest carrying out routine inspections each and every time your helmet is dropped. But this would depend on whether the helmet was empty before the impact , or whether it had your head in it .
The force of impact in this two cases would differ ,because the average human head weighs between 10-11 pounds.
This added weight would often compress the protective of the helmet’s material inside, thereby reducing the protective structure as compared if it were empty . But if unsure , try taking it to a dealer to assess the damage .
What are two legal requirements relating to the use of helmets?
The legal requirements for the use of helmets in the US are many ,but there are two important ones that border primarily on the safety rating .
They are the DOT (Depart of Transportation FMVSS218) and The European Standard 22/05 . These two are the recognize standards helmets must pass before they can be sold.
D.O.T. (Department of Transportation FMVSS218)
FMVSS218 is the technical standard and it defines the minimum criteria a helmet manufacturer must meet up so as to certify it’s use in the United States.
It is generally known as the DOT helmet standard certification, and the only test that’s similar is the Snell’s Memorial tests.
However , the estimated values are judged on a different criteria , such as the force of impact, the severity, and the equipment used. The Snell’s certification test is harder to pass when compared to the DOT test.
European Standard 22/05
The European standard is much like the DOT and Snell testing. What differentiates them are the values obtained from the tests. These results may vary slightly but still meet the criteria .
Another part of the testing criteria includes tests for slipping, abrasion, retention, and durability. A helmet’s shell testing is also done under the European Standard 22/05, but it’s not done under the Snell or DOT testing .
Where do you all put your helmets?
Helmets don’t come cheap . And once you’re through riding , it’s best to stash your helmets in a place that’s safe and secured from accidents and thieves. One recommended way is by keeping them in dry cardboard boxes that are well ventilated.
Some motorcyclists often use lagging materials to separate each helmet from the other. This keeps the helmets from rubbing against each ,and protects them from scratches and dents. Another recommended way is by putting up a racks or hooks to hold your helmets in place .
And lastly , always ensure that your helmets are kept in places that are far from sources of heat , like a fire , heater or the Sun’s UV radiation .
Doing this keeps your helmet safe from burns that could damage or weaken the interior and exteriors linings. It also helps in preserving the aesthetic look of your helmet , and let’s you enjoy your money’s worth.
What is the best protection for a helmet?
The best protection you can offer your helmet is by taking care of it . Helmet’s are designed to protect you from head injuries by absorbing shocks that comes from collisions with stationary or moving objects .
Once a helmet is kept carelessly, it becomes exposed to dents and scratches that compromises the protective layers of the helmet .
Taking these preventive measures should help in giving proper protection for your helmet :
Avoid tossing your helmet :
we often come in tired after a long day, and the burden of carrying a helmet doesn’t sit well with our strength at the time .
So, in a bid to relax quickly, some folks often toss their helmets to the nearest location that looks soft .
This is wrong, and it could cause cracks on impact . Especially if it misses and strikes a hard object .
According Giro’s product manager, Scott Junker, “ … the impacts aren’t the same as a crash, they can add up and easily damage the outer polycarbonate layer of the helmet ”.
*When cleaning your helmet, never soak in it water, or any harsh solvent that could penetrate the polycarbonate material .
Good helmets will always pass the submersion test to receive a certification of safety ,but it could doesn’t guarantee they are meant for aquatic functions.
Once a helmet is submerged in water for long periods ,the material absorbs the water. This soaks and weakens the interior foam protector of the helmet.
Federally mandating motorcycle helmets in the United States