Incorrect Use Of Helmets

The use of a helmet is not enough to provide full protection to motorcyclists during a crash. Motorcycle helmets need to be worn correctly to help prevent head and brain injuries from crashes. Studies have shown that there is an increased risk of head and brain injuries with incorrect or poor helmet fit and wearing position.

A European based motorcycle crash study investigated 90 crashes where it found that in 11 cases (12 per cent), the helmets had come off during the crash. In another earlier study, the same author found that 10 per cent of the cases, the helmets were lost during the crash and in half those cases, the chin strap showed signs of being deformed, disrupted or damaged in some other way and concluded that these helmets were lost due to loading of the chin strap.

In their 2009 report, the European based Motorcycle Accidents in Depth Study (MAIDS) investigated more than 900 crashes in European countries where it has found:

  • 9.1 per cent of the crashes involved helmets coming off the wearer's head at some time during the accident.
  • Of these 9.1 per cent of crashes, there were 58 cases in which the reported ejection was because the rider had failed to fasten the chin-strap or had removed it.

The most recent study has found that of 598 motorcyclists surveyed; 71 per cent of motorcyclists wore a helmet that was not of the right size.

These studies all show the importance of choosing a helmet that fits the wearer's head correctly. A highly rated helmet would not provide the protection it's intended to, if it is not fitted correctly.

Future Work

The role of helmets in managing impacts at an angle (oblique) that transfer rotational forces to the head and brain has not been assessed in this program and is not yet assessed in any motorcycle helmet standard. It is envisaged that the helmets' ability to manage this type of impact will be included in future stages.