Motorcycle Helmets -They're Not All The Same

With rising gas prices, more and more people are riding motorcycles these days. So I am compelled to get on my soap box again and tell you are story. Unfortunately it is very true.

A few weeks ago, there were two different motorcycle accidents in my town. I live in a small town, so two motorcycle accidents in a month would be a rare thing, but two in one week. That is practically unheard of.

In many ways the accidents were similar. Both riders were incredibly experienced, both were avid motorcycle riders who had been riding for decades. No drugs or alcohol were involved in either accident. Both riders were going around a corner when they hit a slick spot on the road, oil or gravel, no one is really sure. Both lost control of their motorcycles, and when the motorcycles hit the shoulder and slowed dramatically, both riders went through the windscreen of their respective motorcycles, and both landed head first on the shoulder of the highway.

One rider was declared dead at the scene.

The other rider is my husband. He suffered a broken collar bone and a bunch of road rash. Relatively minor injuries. He’ll be fine. The other rider is not fine, and that makes me sick.

There is a reason why these two very similar accidents had very different outcomes. Helmets.

Before the accident, my husbands helmet looked something like this.

full face motorcycle helmet

This isn’t the exact helmet, but you can get an idea. Full face protection, plus it is long enough to protect the neck. In fact, my husband’s collar bone was probably broken by the helmet. This kept him from breaking his neck. The only head injury my husband sustained was some minor bruising on his forehead and one small cut.

Here is a helmet similar to what the other rider was wearing.

beanie helmet

This is the minimum helmet required by law. Commonly called a beanie helmet, some motorcycle riders wear them as a type of “protest” against the mandatory helmet law.

Please, if you are going to ride a motorcycle, think about why you wear a helmet. It is not just to comply with the law. You wear a helmet for protection of your head and neck if you crash. If you wear a “beanie” type helmet as a protest against the mandatory helmet law, please reconsider. Even the most experienced rider can have an accident.

My husband has over 40 years experience riding and racing motorcycles. He knows what to do in a skid. But sometimes there are things beyond your control. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you are going to crash. And if you hit the pavement at 50 mph, you need more protection than a beanie helmet can provide.

So please, if you ride a motorcycle, or a scooter, spend the money and go buy a decent, full face helmet. It may cost you a few hundred dollars, and your friends might not think it is cool, but it may save your life.