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Donning Rider's Insignia

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles

Donning Rider's Insignia

Maricon Williams
May 16, 2006

The helmet is a rider’s expression. It is an expression of what kind of rider he is.

There are different styles and designs of helmets available in motorcycle stores these days. Colors range from classic solid colors to domineering neon and luminous colors to promote conspicuity. There are also replicas that look like ‘super bike champ wear’.

Street motorcycle accessories like helmet are matters of personal taste. In that case, aesthetic side is often chosen over anything else. Anyhow, this has contributed why safety is most of the time overlooked. Whatever the case may be rider’s safety must be the topmost priority.

In a study conducted by the NHTSA, DOT National Highway Traffic Safety US Department of Transportation, they have subjected 50 motorcyclists, of varying age and riding experience to a test. They were made to ride along a prescribed test route. Then, they were asked to periodically change lanes and their head to check traffic in the adjacent lane. Afterwards, they were made to change lane in their normal manner. The riders have driven the route three times, full and partial helmet on, and on the third time, without wearing a helmet. The ability to hear surrounding traffic was also altered systematically.

The study found out that helmets are not hindrance to motorcyclist’s ability to hear and observe surrounding traffic. In connection with the hearing tests, no significant difference was found in rider's ability to hear traffic, either between helmet types or between helmet and no helmet.

Hearing ability, on the other hand, was significantly affected by vehicle speed due to increased wind noise. However, for any given speed, helmets did not diminish nor enhance hearing. In connection with the vision tests, it showed that the minimal amount of the lateral vision (field of view) that is sacrificed by wearing a helmet can be made up by turning the head a little further.

Further, the study showed that 19 of the 23 riders who were given the vision tests compensated for helmet use by turning their head a little further before changing lanes. Overall, any negative effect of helmets on rider vision appears to be very minor, especially in comparison to the protection offered by helmets should a crash occur.

Arai, Bell, Icon, AGV, Nolan, Thor, Erex, are some of the trusted motorcycle helmet manufacturers in the world. The helmets they are releasing are tested and approved by Snell and DOT.

Pick the best helmet for your secured journey. Be guided by your senses…

Please visit Motorcycle Accessories site at http://www.streetmotorcycleaccessories.com for comments and inquiries regarding this article.



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