Is It Time for a New Motorcycle Helmet?
If you have been in a “minor” motorcycle accident, you may have picked yourself up, dusted off, and inspected your helmet but saw no damage. However, it is important to know that motorcycle helmets can have damage that you cannot see. For example, there could be damage to the inner protective padding, which could cause the helmet to shift and not protect you like it should in the next accident. Therefore, it is always best to be on the safe side and consider your helmet to be damaged after any type of accident.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation states that “if a helmet has been damaged in a crash, it will not be protective in another mishap and should be replaced.” This includes if your head struck or hit anything at all (the pavement, a vehicle, or another object) as this is considered impact damage.
If you have not been in a motorcycle accident but are inspecting your helmet for any minor wear and tear, always be sure to check the chin straps, outer shell, and the inner padding. Look for sun damage, cracks, missing padding, faded colors, and more.
If you already own or are thinking about owning a motorcycle in the near future, one of the most important accessories you can purchase is a motorcycle helmet. The reason we say this is because motorcycle helmets are known to save lives when crashes occur.
Why do you need a motorcycle helmet in Oklahoma City?
According to Oklahoma Highway Safety, only motorcycle riders who are under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. However, regardless of whether it is a legal requirement or not, choosing to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle is like making a choice between life or death.
In 2020, over 5,500 motorcyclists died on the roads across the United States, and about 200,000 were treated in hospital emergency rooms. Therefore, by choosing to wear a helmet, you are making the choice to prevent severe, permanent injuries or even death when involved in a motorcycle accident.
The Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety reported that 40 percent of motorcyclists who were killed in accidents in 2020 were not wearing helmets.
Why are motorcyclists more prone to life-threatening accidents?
Motorcyclists are more prone to life-threatening injuries and accidents because they are not protected by a shield like other drivers. A motorcycle is on two wheels, which must be balanced, and the motorcyclist’s level of protection is based on the accessories that they wear. Therefore, while an automobile driver simply gets into their vehicle and buckles up, a motorcycle driver must wear something to protect their head, eyes, arms, legs, feet, and more.
In addition, motorcycles do not have seatbelts. This means that it is common for motorcyclists to be thrown from their motorcycles and suffer impact injuries from the pavement, other vehicles, or objects.
Head and skull injuries from motorcycle accidents
Even though motorcyclists experience severe injuries to all parts of the body, they most often experience head and skull injuries, especially if they are not wearing a helmet. We have helped clients who have experienced a variety of different head and skull injuries, including the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Epidural hemorrhage
- Subdural hemorrhage
- Coup-contrecoup injuries
- Diffuse axonal injuries
- Skull fractures
Do motorcycle helmets expire?
Even though motorcycle helmets do not come with an expiration date, it is recommended to replace them every five years. The reason for this is because helmets become damaged by the sun, sweat, rain, and other environmental factors. The inner padding can also begin to fall apart after a few years depending on how well it is made.
How to choose the right motorcycle helmet
If you are in the market for a new motorcycle helmet, there are a few key things that you should look for:
- Shape: People can have different head shapes. Therefore, it is important to determine yours and make sure that your helmet matches. You may want to get professional assistance with this because it is important that the helmet fits your head as accurately as possible to prevent it from moving during an accident.
- Size: You will need to make sure that you purchase the proper size helmet for your head. You can either get professionally sized or use a tape measure to determine your size. However, this must be accurate because the last thing you want is for your helmet to be too big, too small, or too loose. A motorcycle helmet that is the correct size will feel slightly tight, providing a little pressure around your head. However, it should not be so tight that it is uncomfortable to wear, and it should not be too loose that it shakes or moves around during use.
- Style: Style is one of the big things that people look at when choosing a helmet. There are many different styles and features to choose from, but it mainly depends on what type of riding and how much riding you plan to do. While it is highly recommended to choose a helmet with a face shield as this can protect your eyes and face, you can choose a helmet without a face shield and still wear goggles for protection.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and need help from an Oklahoma City attorney, contact Cunningham & Mears today. We are a team of personal injury attorneys who know and understand the issues that motorcyclists go through, and we will do everything we can to stand up for your rights. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More