The motorcycle helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment on a motorcycle. Never buy a used helmet and if your helmet is ever involved in a significant impact when you’re wearing it, then it should be replaced as the internal shock absorption material could be compressed.
A full face helmet offers better protection than an open face helmet, even if both carry the same Australian Standard approval sticker. If you’re thinking about an open face helmet because it’s cool, remember that crash studies have shown that in more than 40% of motorcycle accidents, there was significant damage done to the helmet chin piece – that’s the part that’s protecting your face. Another advantage of a full face helmet is that your face stays cleaner and more bug-free and it’s also warmer in winter.
When choosing a motorcycle helmet, be sure that it fits correctly.
A correctly fitting helmet should feel quite firm/ almost tight when new. A good test to try, is to put on the helmet and then pull it sided to side / up and down. If it slides around it’s too big. The skin on your forehead should move with the helmet when moving it up and down.
Better to get a tighter helmet to start as it will loosen up over time. If you buy a helmet that just right (i.e. not snug at all) it will end up being too big over time. More importantly it won’t provide the protection you are after in the first place.
Some full face helmets have a better field of view than others which is important when you are riding in traffic. You should choose the one that you can see least of the helmet while you’re wearing it.
Many helmets have removable and washable liners and this is important not only to avoid HO (helmet odour) but also means that if your helmet becomes loose with wear, that you can replace the liner at least once, which could save you an unnecessary early replacement.
Finally, in terms of comfort, some helmets have better ventilation than others with many offering adjustable airflow. This is very important in keeping your head cool in summer.
Helmets normally come with clear visors but in most cases replacement visors can be clear or tinted. If you are riding at night, be aware that using a tinted visor is illegal (not to mention unsafe). If you plan to use a tinted visor during the day, remember you’ll have to carry a clear one so you can swap them. Some helmets are easier to change visors on than others. Get your helmet salesman to demonstrate before you buy. A solution is to wear sunglasses inside the helmet, but you should make sure that they easily fit inside the padding and make sure they are shatterproof plastic lenses not glass.
Insurance and choosing a motorcycle helmet. Don’t forget that with NRMA Motorcycle Comprehensive Insurance your helmet and protective clothing will be covered for up to $2000 if it’s damaged in an incident. It’s worth checking out.