Is Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet When Riding Actually Worth It? (Riders' Opinions Wanted)?
I've been riding offroad for a while, and I know for a fact my helmet has saved my bacon a few times. I've been wanting to get into street riding though, but I've always wondered about a helmet for that. Of course, I know, most people are going to say "you should wear a helmet, it keeps you safe if you crash," blah blah blah, but let's cut it down to the nitty-gritty.
The majority of crashes I've been in while offroading were usually low speed (30-40 mph) crashes that I walked off. Therefore, the helmet was able to perform its job splendidly. What I'm interested in are high speed highway crashes when you're going 60-70 mph. I've spoken to many old-school riders who prefer not to wear helmets because, the way they see it, if they go down on pavement at high speed, "a piece of foam wrapped in ABS plastic" isn't going to do much to prevent head injuries. Comfort also seems to be an issue, which I can understand. Helmets trap heat, and that's less than ideal during long rides and hot days.
If I could get no-BS opinions from riders or people who generally know what they're talking about, that would be great. Thanks in advance.
edit: Thanks for all the input so far! I appreciate it! Keep in mind, I'm just a casual observer. I have no opinion either way, I'm just trying to get both sides.
- Dimo JLv 78 years agoFavorite Answer
I dislike liars. Those who push helmets lie. One of the big lies: In California the number of motorcycle deaths dropped 40% after they made helments mandatory. True. But the lie part is that the number of motorcyclists dropped 39% in the same time. The drop of deaths was due to fewer motorcyclists and fewer accidents. The rate of death/accidents actually is actually slightly higher in States that mandatory helmets. But why?! Helmets *do* protect your head. Why don't the statistics show that helmets are useful is saving lives? Answer - "Risk Compensation." Helmets do not save lives because people are riding faster.
Back in the '50's and early '60's there were few motorcyclists, mostly riding for transportion, we had accidents and deaths. Starting with the "You meet the best people on a Honda" the number of motorcyclist increased. The number of accidents jumped up, they started car and motorcycle training, and the rate of accidents/drivers+riders went down. Far down. Motorcycles became a recreation toy, people got into racing, sport bikes, helmets, armor, gear, and the deaths per accident have more than tripled than back when we only rode motorcycles for transportation.
You ask about "... high speed highway crashes ... 60-70 mph... if they go down on pavement at high speed... isn't going to do much to prevent head injuries." The Truth? HELL YES it saves injuries! DUH! On the highway you will *s*l*i*d*e* from 70 mph to a gentle stop. You have the choice of having the pavement a helmet and leather taking the beating -- your your skin. Trust me! Leather hurts less than skin!
If you are playing in the twisties? On the track, in your gear, in the curves, slide out and you have hay bales and stuff so you come to a (relatively) gentle stop. On a mountain road, Heh! You smack into another vehicle, the rather not moving mountain, or sail into the valley until you smack into a rock or a tree... whatever, your "gear" is just about useless.
Then you have City Streets. Check the pictures: http://jagerkin.com/Dirt-Street/Index.htm Note different between Dirt and Street -- Cars in Intersections ... you or the other, probably the car, blowing through a red light or stop sign, you get smacked sideways about 30-40 mph. Without gear, probably dead. With gear you will be badly injuried, lotsa broken bones.
How good of a driver are you? What are the odds of you missing that guy blowing a stop? I watch. I watch my ***, checking my mirrors every 4-5 seconds. I check *every* possible vehicle that could enter the street from the side. I check traffic forward, not the 14 seconds that MSF suggests, -- I am watching as far as possible ahead, generally a minute ahead. If you are, like me, anal about watching around you, you head swiveling constantly, you are safer without a helmet because you will avoid collisions. If you are normal, a helmet is better.
- 8 years ago
I guess it would depend on the type of crash you encounter has to the safety affect of the helmet. I started riding again a couple of years ago and didn't wear a helmet for a long time. I finally got tired of getting smacked in the face with bugs that felt like rocks! The biggest benifit i've gotton from wearing a helmet now is the protection from the wind and flying objects! I ride about 500 miles a week on the Interstate and will not ride without the helmet just for the protection. It does hold heat and i have a full face helmet, last summer i was riding through a neighbor hood and i had the sheild pulled half way up to allow more air to hit my face and a freaken bee flew into my helmet and stung me right on the nose!!!
All in all, i prefer the protection from the wind and debrie. I've been told that wind sheilds offer the same protection but i like the security of the helmet. As for as crashing i don't know but for what it's worth, i've got the hemet on.
- Anonymous8 years ago
I've seen videos of drag racing motorcycles where the riders have fallen off nearing 200MPH and only had minor scratches or a broken bone. I'd say that goes to show that protective motorcycle gear helps quite a bit.
A study conducted in Germany showed that the most commonly struck area on the head during a crash is the chin with a 50% chance. A full face helmet is the only one that would protect you in this situation.
I would not hesitate to ride a motorcycle at 25MPH with no helmet (if it was legal) as I ride my bicycle on the street at that speed without one. But when I leave residential areas I would definitely wear a quality full face helmet regardless of how uncomfortable they are.
EDIT: In regards to riding a motorcycle at speeds around 25MPH and less: You have more time to react at those speeds, having better hearing and field of view will help me know when to react. If someone is backing out of their driveway while I'm stopped I wouldn't get T-boned, I'd know they are backing out and move out of the way.
It's true that wearing a motorcycle helmet should not be mandatory as it's about personal safety only which should always be the decision of the person at risk. I find it silly that anyone tries to make up any other excuse.
- tomcotexasLv 48 years ago
I have been riding a long time, since 1952. Started wearing a helmet about 1958. Have had a few 'get-offs' on the road, skinned up a few helmets, old head still in place. Then, in 1959, had a nearly new full face helmet, a hot-roded 650 Triumph. Topped a little humpbacked Tennessee hill about 120mph, there was a church on top of the hill, 2 drive ways, one on each side of the top. A car was turning into the drive on the south side, as I came over the top, from the north side, I got on the brakes, I hit the car as he turned in front of me. Lot of skin lost, cracked bone in left arm is all. Bike took a lot of work, but it ran again also. The poor helmet looked like it was run over by a steam roller. So, believe me, no way will you ever get me to ride without a helmet. No way I would have survived that one without a helmet! ALWAYS wear a GOOD helmet!!!!
TomcotexasSource(s): Experience. New helmets are easier to get than new heads. Aprox 400K miles, still going.
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- BikerBobLv 58 years ago
The helmet industry would like you to believe you have to wear one and have successfully brainwashed a lot of people along with a lot of lobbying in state legislatures to get mandatory helmet use laws passed. That way everyone has to buy one. The almighty D.O.T. sticker on them just means the helmet can pass a 13 MPH impact. So it will protect you until you get out of your driveway. I see no reason to wrap my head with added weight that my neck was never intended to support. There have been accidents were wearing a helmet would help but there are times when you'd be better off without one. Some permanent neck injuries caused by the helmet being pushed into your neck have been reported. It's a gamble you take. I find them hot, uncomfortable and as Paul said above, annoying. I've been riding over 30 years and never wear a helmet. I'm fortunate to live in a no helmet law state and I only ride in states that have no helmet law or let adults make their own choice. So, in my opinion it's not worth wearing one.
- 8 years ago
They have to be mentally retarded to think that a helmet wouldn't help them in a crash! How could a helmet not protect you? Its created to do just that if you crashed. Whoever said a helmet won't protect you in a crash at 60mph or above is a complete ******* idiot
It doesn't matter what speed you're going. You could be walking around your house if you hit your head your fu*ked. It doesn't matter what speed your at you could still hurt your head.
I recently got towed, and the guys at the towing company were really cool. They were telling me to be safe and were showing me some motorcycle wrecks they had to deal with. They showed me a scooter where the lady who had been riding on it got hit in the head by an extended mirror belonging to a dually pick up truck.
Some of these answers really scare me. It's like the dipshits who say 9/11 was a conspiracy.Source(s): WEAR THE HELMET. ESPECIALLY ON THE STREET!!!!!
- L-manLv 68 years ago
You will probably get different opinions. Some say a full-face helmet increases possibility of neck injury.My friend slid down the road with one and the chin guard was almost sanded into two. That would have been his chin.We have to wear one in NY,and most wear half helmets on cruisers,the sportbikers wear full, and others wear the open face.Maybe its just a matter of style for them. I at least want something between my noggin and the pavement.
- ATFLv 58 years ago
Honestly I don't wear a helmet and I crashed at 20 MPH, and scrapeless. The only thing I wear is some body gear. And the helmet annoys the crap out of me. And crashing at 70 mph on the street likely won't do anything, I ride without one, I like it that way too, and its not illegal, well depending on your state if the "helmet law" is effective in Oklahoma, we dont have so I ride freely.Source(s): I love my bike!
- guardrailjimLv 78 years ago
Answer me this -
What if you were sitting at a red light and a car backing out of a driveway T-bones you?
Would your head bouncing on the pavement be safer with or without a helmet?
Accidents happen at less than 5mph and usually are not included in accident statistics.
- Anonymous8 years ago
I've crashed a few times on the race-track, at speeds between 50 and 155. I would have survived NONE of those crashes without a helmet. As a motorcycle instructor, I've seen several students crash at speeds well under 30 mph who would have been killed or suffered permanent brain injuries without their helmets. That "piece of foam wrapped in ABS plastic" is a highly engineered (also tested and proven) piece of safety gear. Describing it as such does it a great injustice, and ignores its effectiveness. As for "comfort" and "trapping heat" issues, I have ridden 600+ mile days in all sorts of weather conditions--and very hot days on the race-track, too--and never wanted to be out of my helmet.
There will always be the "anti-helmet" crowd. They're wrong. In democratic countries that support free speech, they're allowed to be wrong, but they're still wrong.
The "points" that they spout:
-freedom, freedom, freedom, blah, blah, blah;
-helmets restrict one's field of view;
-helmets prevent one from hearing approaching hazards;
-helmets cause neck injuries;
-helmets (and other protective gear) cause people to ride recklessly;
-blah, blah, blah...
Here's my challenge to them: Find me ONE rider who has hit his head HARD on the ground--without a helmet--and who can still think straight.Source(s): Riding for 37 years. Motorcycle instructor since 2004. Race-track rider.