Why won't you buy/wear a helmet?

Background

People around me know that road safety is a very important and personal issue to me. Close to two and a half years back, I lost one of my best friend to a road accident. I never asked anyone about the accident details, if he was wearing the helmet or not, etc. not that it matters now anyway. However, I am sure if he knew about and had a good quality helmet, he might have survived.

That's all irreversible. But you are alive,

Then why won't you spend one-fifth of what you are spending on your smartphone/laptop and get a good helmet and wear it daily?

In this blog, I will try to debunk the silly and/or stupid arguments people give for not wearing a helmet. I would also try to suggest some of the good available beginner helmets, that I know of.

Debunking Silly Arguments

I aggressively push people around me to buy and wear a good helmet on daily basis, therefore I also come across some of the most absurd excuses that people can think of. Here are some of them:

"I have never been in an accident"

Well, what do you know, people are also not dead until the moment they are (mostly). Good for you if you have never been in an accident, that doesn't mean you never will. Get your head out in the sunlight and stop leaving your life to chances.

"I drive very slowly/cautiously"

This is the one I hear the most. This one is kinda logical, although only if you are stupid and/or are driving on a private road. Unfortunately, that's not the case now, is it? Our roads are full of people and not everyone's (read no one) going to drive in a way to keep you safe. Read last line of previous point now.

Oh and also, as my friend Godwin would like to point out: Try running heads on into a wall while running at the speed of 20KMPH and then we will talk. Because that might put some sense into your head.

"My head hurts when I wear a helmet"

That's a good argument you got there. You are so worried about the headache that you are okay with losing your head, by not wearing a helmet. Now that's a line of thinking I like. Go Team Problem-Solvers!

"I can't see the traffic properly when I wear a helmet"

Said one man to another. That another guy went to his lab and invented the (drum rolls, please!!) Rearview Mirrors. Use rear view mirrors and follow lane discipline, you'll probably outlive that dumb guy who thought rearview mirrors are for fixing his hair.

"Who spends that much on a helmet?"

Most people that I know of won't spend more than 1K INR for a helmet. I generally refer to them these two blogs, that you can read here and here. In the later article, the author notes:

if you have a smartphone, you did in fact have the money to purchase a really good helmet and you chose where to spend that money.

So it is all about the priority. And whatever price you have put on your head (literally). However, I am not asking everyone of you to spend 50K on a helmet, but at least somewhere around 4K-5K would be a good start.

"But my helmet has an ISI mark"

From the article mentioned above,

The Indian BSI (ISI mark) and the US DOT are both honour based. That means a helmet maker is expected to be able to certify his own helmets meet the standard using his own testing lab.

Worse, I’ve seen a helmet maker instruct his marketing chief to start adding ISI stickers to his new line of helmets as an off-hand remark so I know the compliance process is iffy at best.

I am not a Subject Matter Expert (SME), but most of the other SMEs recommend a ECE22.05 certified helmet. If you can get one with SHARP rating as well, that's great!

"I don't need a 'Hi-Fi' helmet."

Believe me, we all need the best protection we can get while riding. Riding in India is very very dangerous. Don't believe me, well stats don't lie. Here are for the year 2015.

YearTotal AccidentsFatal AccidentKilled PersonInjured PersonAccident Severity
20155,01,4231,31,726(26.3)1,46,1335,00,27929.1

Accident Severity : Number of persons killed per 100 accidents. Source

So...

"If anything bad's gonna happen, it probably will."

You see the problem with being stupid and/or dead is, it doesn't affect you. But it is very painful for people around you.

That's all I have to say to the people who are first-grade douche, and invalidated my whole 1500+ words blog in 8 words.

How, where and which helmets to buy

How to select a good helmet?

Answering the first part of this question is very easy. I would like to direct you to this excellent blog by Motohive: How to choose a properly fitting Helmet. Check the video out:

The things that I can recommend from my personal experience is:

  • Always buy a full face helmet.
  • Always try a helmet out before buying, do NOT compromise.
  • Helmet ratings matter.
  • If you cannot decide, ask someone who knows about this stuff. Ask Internet.

For rest of the things, there are a lots of good blogs written on Internet by people who are SMEs.

Where to buy a good helmet from?

For the second part of question, there are a lot of places from where you can buy helmets. If you have used the brand before and are sure of your size, then you can shop online. The two online stores that I know of are: Store4Riders and Gear Up!. If not, you should definitely check out your local stores. You can find your local stores by a simple Google search.

Or better, ask around in your local bike group. You will get better options with real reviews.

Which are some of the good helmets?

Now a disclaimer before I answer the last part of question. I am not an experts on riding and motorcyle safely, therefore, you should do your own research on things I am suggesting. Being said that, here are few good entry level helmets I am aware of. Also note that I only have used MT helmets until now, therefore those are the only ones I can recommend.

  • MT Kranos: This is a good basic helmet, setting you back around INR 3250. This is the cheapest helmet I could find with ECE R.22.05 and DOT certification. A friend of mine actually has it and it is really good for its price. Note: I have been told that this series has been discontinued and only remaining pieces are being sold.

  • MT Mugello/MT Axxis: These helmets are one step up from Kranos. These will set you back INR 4250 and INR 4750, respectively. The internal padding is better than Kranos and it is more comfortable to wear. These come, of course, with ECE R.22.05 and DOT certification.

  • MT Blade: This was the first helmet that I bought and it is still my favourite. You can get a Blade helmet for INR 6250. It is very comfortable and snugly fitting helmet. Apart from being ECE R.22.05 and DOT certified, this helmet is also SHARP 3-star rated.

  • MT Revenge: This is my current helmet and I upgraded from my Blade because it is SHARP 5-star rated (highest SHARP rating a helmet can get). This one is probably the cheapest SHARP 5-star helmet available. This one is available for INR 6750.

If you have a better budget than this, by all means look at the helmets by HJC, Bell, AGV, Arai, Shoei, etc.

These are possibly some good beginner helmets. I say possibly, because in all probability a more experienced biker or SMEs in safety would be able to suggest you better one. So, the key takeaway is to put in the same efforts in researching a helmet, as much as you do for a new smartphone or a laptop. Because, this thing actually matters. And it could very well be the deciding factor whether you live long enough to see iPhone 10 (now with no camera, or SIM slot) or not.

Prologue

If you see someone not wearing a helmet or just a cheap one, show them this blog and others that are much informative then this. But first, go buy a better helmet for yourself. Also, no one is saying wearing helmet would make you invincible. But then again, the purpose of this life is not to live forever, but rather not die early and miss the beautiful things that you haven't witnessed yet.

Now that this rant is over, please, go out and get a good helmet. Because your head deserves better. Moreover, the people who love you deserve better.


I was motivated to write this blog by a post from Riderzone by Akhil Kalsh. Also credits to my friend 41w4r10r for teaching me about all that I know in biking and the suggestions. If you know of more stupid excuses given by your friends, let me know. I will try to add them to the list.