Do I believe in crash helmets? I most certainly do.
I started racing in 1965 and I didn’t even have a helmet for my first race. I had to borrow one.
Round about then, the Bell Helmet people ran an advertisement, “If you’ve got a 10 dollar head, get a 10 dollar helmet!” It was at that point I began to think about protecting myself. Since then I have always had good quality helmets which have saved me on a few occasions.
However, motorcycles and helmets go back for many years until on May 19, 1935 (that’s 80 odd years ago), the famous British World War I hero known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” died six days after crashing his motorcycle while avoiding boys bicycling in the street.
In Thailand you could make that avoiding soi dogs in the street.
But the war hero did not die for nothing. The neurosurgeon who attended Lawrence could see that motorcycle deaths were from brain injuries. He then began to promote the idea of helmets. After everyone began to wear a helmet, the death rates for motorcycle riders fell dramatically.
In most developed countries there are laws covering helmet usage, making wearing compulsory, except in Thailand where the majority ignore the laws, and the police don’t apply the laws equally.
So what are we left with? Last New Year holidays, 80 percent of the fatalities were motorcycle riders. And they were not wearing helmets, were they?
Another interesting statistic – you are 28 times more likely to be killed riding a motorcycle than traveling in a car or pick-up.
So what to do?
Firstly, buy a good quality helmet.
Secondly always wear it.
Thirdly replace it every 3-5 years even if it looks all right. This way you will not be part of the 80 percent.