A motorcycle helmet is a complex piece of equipment that is indispensable to riders who want to avoid serious and potentially fatal injuries. The hard outer shell blunts the force of a collision, the inner foam lining absorbs impact, and comfort padding holds your head in place, secure against dangerous or unexpected movements.
But all of those safety features eventually degrade over time. Beyond typical wear and tear, accidents can also cause significant damage to helmets. Other everyday incidents, such as dropping your helmet on the floor or leaving it near a source of extreme heat, can lead to small fractures that widen over the years until the helmet becomes ineffective and unsafe.
Keeping your helmet in good condition and replacing it when necessary are essential for ensuring that you stay safe on your motorcycle. Helmets saved 1,630 motorcyclists’ lives in 2013 and could have saved another 715 if they had been worn at the time of the crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
After a motorcycle accident, coping with severe injuries and grappling with financial uncertainty can make every day seem like a struggle. If you were hurt due to a negligent driver, speak to a personal injury attorney at The Downs Law Firm about the merits of your case.
When Should You Replace Your Motorcycle Helmet?
You don’t have to be in a serious motorcycle crash for your helmet to sustain damage. The Snell Memorial Foundation, a private not-for-profit organization that assists helmet manufacturers in complying with safety standards, recommends replacing your helmet every few years even if it has not been damaged in a crash.
Helmet liners can be degraded by products used in their manufacturing, such as glues and resins, as well as hair oils, cosmetics and even body fluids. Helmets can also come into contact with fuels and other petroleum-based products that erode foam padding and stitching.
Dropping a motorcycle helmet once is generally not considered a reason to find a replacement, although doing so frequently can lead to widening cracks over time.
The Snell Memorial Foundation warns that it can be very difficult to establish the true extent of a helmet’s damage and the effects of that damage on its ability to protect you without consulting with an expert. Because of this, if you are concerned that your helmet has been damaged, it is best to have it replaced.
As PennyGeeks explains, there will be noticeable improvements in the effectiveness of helmet technology over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, and production methods, so it’s a good idea to replace your helmet every five years. Safety standards also improve with each year as the body of research into motorcycle helmet materials grows, so if you wear the same helmet for too long, you may be left using an outdated product.
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, contact a personal injury attorney at The Downs Law Firm. Ross Downs has been practicing law for more than 20 years and will advise you on your legal options.
The Downs Law Firm
517 North Washington Street
Bishop, LA 71220