What you need to know about wearing a motorcycle Safety Helmet
Safety helmets cause much confusion for some people and there are a few misconceptions surrounding them.
1/. By law you must wear a safety helmet with a strap that does up when you ride a motorcycle or moped on the road. (Unless you are exempt for religious or medical reasons).
2/. A helmet by definition is something that offers head protection and has a secure strap. It does not need to have stickers, kite marks, or EU stamps on it for you to wear it.
3/. If you buy or sell a safety helmet in the UK it must have either a British Safety standard kite mark or an EU stamp on it. These are found either as a sticker on the back of the helmet or stamped onto the strap on the inside of the helmet (the EU stamp is normally an “E1” in a circle).
So, if you bought a helmet in the USA and wore it over here it would not be illegal, unless you tried to sell it to someone else. However, if you wear a visor or goggles then they must have a BS or EU mark on it for you to wear it. Visors and goggles without stamps are illegal to wear. A Simpson Bandit can only be worn without the visor if you bought it in the USA.
The following is a very useful site to compare prices, sizes, cost and safety – www.direct.gov.uk/sharp .
All very complicated.
1/. I have a headache; does this excuse me from wearing a helmet?
No, you need a medical certificate from a doctor before you can ride without a helmet.
2/. I wear glasses with an open face helmet, do the glasses count as goggles, in which case do they need a BS or EU mark?
Glasses and shades correct your vision, and are not designed to offer eye protection. Therefore they do not come under the law that covers goggles and visors.
3/. How long will my helmet last?
This is hard to answer, but assuming that it is not damaged, then there are two things that indicate that a helmet is nearing the end of its life. Firstly, it doesn’t fit as well as it used to, and secondly, that the outer shell starts to lose lustre. Helmets do not like changes of temperature or direct sunlight. If you ride infrequently and leave you helmet in a cupboard it may well last many years. If you are a courier or instructor it may only last a year or so.
4/. I dropped my helmet, is this bad?
Yup, ‘fraid so. You will not be able to see the damage that you have caused, but inside the protective polystyrene layer which absorbs the energy from an impact will have been compressed. If you were to have an accident and land on the same place you dropped the helmet then the amount of protection you will receive will be diminished. Replace it.