Motorcycle helmets are lifesaving protection and reduce the risk of injury of death if an incident should happen. To travel safely and legally, you must wear a safety helmet that meets British safety standards when riding on a motorcycle or moped on the road.
A helmet is the most important part of your kit so getting it right is crucial. A brain injury is permanent – a genuine helmet is designed and tested to minimise the risk of head injury. They must meet one of the following:
- BS 6658:1985 and carries the BSI kitemark or
- UNECE 22.05 or 22.06 (new standard due to be phased in over next few years), or
- Any standard accepted by a member of the European Economic Area which offers a level of safety and protection equal to BS 6658:1985 and carry a mark equal to the BSI Kitemark
Beware of counterfeit and fake motorcycle helmets. Counterfeiters are getting very sophisticated in the way they make, package and label products to look like those from reputable manufacturers or, in the case of fakes, produce substandard helmets with fake safety standard markings.
Unfortunately, there has been a rise in counterfeit and fake motorcycle gear, so be aware of the following:
- Ensure you buy from reputable retailers, including online retailers, and avoid buying from social media or second hand.
- Where is the seller based and what chance have you got of getting money back if the goods turn out to unsatisfactory?
- How do they want payment and does the deal look to good to be true?
Choosing the right helmet for your needs and budget is important. There are many reputable retailers that have good advice on their websites and can also advise in store, including measuring you for your helmet and advising if it’s fitting correctly.
Don’t buy second hand. If a helmet has had an impact either from a collision or by being dropped, it may no longer offer you the protection you need as the structure could be compromised. You may not be able to see this damage.
Motorcycle helmets have a limited life span. Manufacturers generally recommend a properly maintained, regularly used helmet should be replaced about every three to five years. Internal linings will have shaped to the first owner’s head, it will therefore not fit or reshape to your head properly, reducing level of protection.
The Department for Transport has a useful website to help motorcyclists choose the right helmet for them, it includes good advice and comparison tests – https://sharp.dft.gov.uk/