This past Wednesday we gave you All the Motorcycle Helmet Information You Would Ever Want to Know well this is Motorcycle Helmet Information Part 2. The sequel to that blog post. Instead of having you read so much in one sitting AMERiders decided to break it up into two parts for you. So let’s get right down to it.
Standards exist to define safety, to test helmets and to assure consumers that helmets meeting them work. All helmets must meet some standard, but which one is the last differentiator in determining outright efficacy. Here are those standards for your Helmet Information.
An acronym for Department of Transportation, DOT is the is US government approved standard and, in the United States, is the most popular. DOT standards are aimed at protecting skulls from 90% of impact types ( low to moderate energy impacts according to the HURT Report) and favors a more shock-absorbent helmet. The maximum G-force allowed by the DOT test is 250g’s, an impact of 200 to 250 g’s to the head would result in a severe, though probably survivable brain injury (the DOT anvil is either flat or “kerb shaped” depending on the test). The DOT’s favoritism towards more shock-absorbent helmets seems to fall in line with recent studies indicating that absorbing the force of an impact is more important than resisting the impact.
The Snell Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit, independent organization established in 1957 and is named after William “Pete” Snell, a famous racing car driver who was tragically killed in 1956 when a helmet failed to protect his head during an accident. The Snell M2005 is the “old standard” and favors a more shock-resistant helmet, the M2010 is the new, more shock-absorbent standard. The Snell M2005 test allows an impact-shock of up to 300g’s, a 250 to 300g impact would result in a critical head injury.
The M2010 standard allows a maximum of 275g’s (the Snell anvil is a steel ball-shaped rather like a tennis ball, they also test with flat and “kerb” shaped anvils). The Snell M2005 standard is widely believed to be too “hard”, the newer M2010 is set to replace it completely in 2013, the M2010 standard favors more impact-absorbent helmets and a helmet that passes the M2010 test will probably also pass the DOT and ECE R22-05 tests (though this isn’t guaranteed). Snell certified helmets are allowed by the AMA for professional motorcycle racing however the M2005 standard will no longer be permitted after 2011.
Developed by the rather lengthily named United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, this is the most common helmet certification internationally, required by over 50 countries worldwide. It is approved for all competition events by AMA, WERA, FIM, CCS, Formula USA and the big one – MotoGP. It, much like the DOT standard, favors a more impact-absorbent helmet allowing a maximum of 275g’s (the ECE R22-05 anvil is either flat or “kerb shaped” depending on the test). The ECE R22-05 is arguably the most up-to-date helmet certification standard, it’s wide use in a variety of high-level motorcycle racing classes is reassuring to many. The ECE R22-05 has more in common with the DOT standard than either the Snell M2005 or M2010 standard, an ECE R22-05 certified helmet is likely to pass the DOT test and vice-versa.
Helmet certification standards are a highly controversial subject in motorcycle circles, everyone wants to believe their helmet’s certification standard is number 1 but at the end of the day it’s down to each rider to do their research, make their decision and the wear their helmet. Every time.
Why Is Weight Important?
Hold a helmet in your hand. Now put that helmet on a three-foot long pole; a rough distance between your head and center of gravity. Which is easier to move and then stop? Well, that’s your head in relation to the rest of your body. Ride for a full-day — eight hours — and extrapolate the effort required by every bump and every direction change, etc, etc etc and you can understand why lighter helmets are better for your neck. This is important Helmet Information when searching for a helmet.
Do Helmets Obscure Peripheral Vision?
Good Helmet Information to know. We, humans, are able to see 90 degrees to either side. The minimum peripheral vision allowed by a full-face helmet is 105 degrees to either side. No, helmets do not obscure your peripheral vision.
Treat your helmet as if it was a human child belonging to someone else who’d be really pissed off if you damaged it. Perhaps a wife or the wife of your boss. Not only does your life depend on your helmet, but your head has to go in it for long periods of time. Never let it out of your sight. Never put it on the floor. Never allow it to fall to the ground. Never allow anyone else to handle it. Never store it anywhere in which it may be exposed to noxious fumes, extreme heat or where it could be damaged or touched by someone else.
A helmet works like the crumple zone of a car; it destroys itself to absorb the energy of a crash. A drop from hand-height to the floor probably won’t damage it (it may break off fragile vents and similar), but any more force honestly could. And that damage could be hidden from view, waiting to not protect you when you actually need it. Baby these damn things better than you would your own children.
As soon as you’ve taken a helmet off, fasten its chin strap and use that as a carry handle. Gripping the chin bar may compress the rubber seals around the visor port or tear a chin curtain or something. If you must set it down, first lay out your gloves to provide a stable, clean surface, then gently place the helmet on it, head hole down, and do all that in a secure place where it won’t be knocked into.
Cleaning your Helmet
When your visor gets covered in dried bugs, wet a towel (paper or cloth) and lay it on them for five or ten minutes. This rehydrates their carcasses and allows them to slide off without scratching the fragile visors or helmet paint.
When it’s time to clean the helmet’s comfort liner (do so regularly, it fills up with sweat and pollution) remove it if possible, and wash it with Johnson’s baby shampoo or Dr. Bronners. If you can’t remove it, just take the helmet into the shower and use the baby shampoo or hippie not-a-soap there. That stuff is non-irritating and, again, your head has to be in contact with your helmet for extended periods of time.
Visors need to be swapped for new ones once a year or so. They get scratched and lose their clarity.
A helmet has a shelf life of 5 years from its date of manufacturer (which you can find on a sticker somewhere). Beyond that date, the glues bonding the layers of styrofoam together and to the shell begin to degrade, reducing safety.
Know that little bottle of silicone lube that you lost as soon as you took your helmet out of its box? Find it and lubricate you visor seals with it once a year or so.
More Next week
Again, there is no reason to keep you reading all day long. We will continue on with our All the Motorcycle Helmet Information You’d Ever Want to Know Series on Wednesday of next week. But before we go There is a Poker Run for the Seth Huston Memorial over in Perryton Texas below is the information. and here is their Facebook page.
~And as always….
~Live Free Ride Hard~
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