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Motorbike helmet safety – how safe is yours?

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41% of UK motorcyclists are wearing crash helmets that ‘need to be replaced’

Close to 400,000* UK motorcyclists are wearing crash helmets that ‘need to be replaced’, according to industry experts and new figures from Carole Nash.

Based on the responses of over 1,000 active UK riders, the survey data commissioned by the motorbike insurance brokers shows that 41% of the nation’s bikers are wearing helmets that have been in use for five or more years.

The consensus across helmet manufacturers and independent safety experts, like the Snell Foundation, is that bikers should replace their lids every five years.

This is due to degradation in the glues and resins used in production, along with normal wear and tear, that reduces the performance of seemingly undamaged helmets.

However, the data shows a startling disconnect between UK riders and this safety advice.

A massive six in ten (62%) motorcyclists said that they wouldn’t buy a replacement helmet unless they had been involved in an accident, with an additional one in five (22%) stating that they would not buy another while their current one still ‘looked fine’.

The research also shows six out of ten (63%) bikers would continue to use their lid after having dropped it, risking the possibility that it has suffered internal damage that cannot be seen.

Pete Horton, who has worked as an online Product Supervisor at Sportsbikeshop.co.uk for over ten years, comes into contact with thousands of bikers each year and emphasises the importance of heeding this guidance.

Mr Horton said: “As the single most important piece of safety equipment a biker wears, it’s obviously vital a helmet’s integrity isn’t compromised in any way to ensure it can provide as much protection as possible. Due to the inevitable degradation of the materials used in their construction, we recommend that helmets be replaced after five years of use.”

The data also revealed that, while nearly half (45%) of bikers will initially spend more than £200 to purchase a safe lid, safety is being compromised when choosing the style of helmet.

Four in ten (38%) motorcyclists said they chose a fashionable – but hard to spot – black as their helmet colour, ahead of more visible options such as blue (14%) and yellow (6%). Rebecca Donohue, Head of Marketing at Carole Nash said: “While it’s encouraging to see that bikers are making an initial investment in their lids, we urge them to not see this as a one-time expense. While the costs of a replacement may feel eye watering, why run the risk of the worst happening? With premium manufacturers like Arai offering free helmet checks to their customers, we would even recommend bikers who have just dropped their helmets to get them checked out. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

More advice on buying the right replacement helmet can be found on the Carole Nash blog. 

*400,000 motorcyclist figure has been put forward as it represents 41% of approximately one million motorcycle
license holders in the UK.

Source: http://www.motorcycle.co.uk/reference/uk-statistics-on-bikes-and-motorcycle-licence-holders

All stats are based on a survey of 1006 motorcyclists run by Atomik Research on behalf of Carole Nash.

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