Motorcycle helmets are the law in South Africa. If you’ve got a motorbike, then you should know that motorcycle helmets are the most important of motorcycle accessories. Wearing the correct helmet could save your life, and we’re not exaggerating here. Wearing no helmet, or an incorrectly fitted helmet, could mean serious injury or even death. But just how are you supposed to buy the right kind of helmet? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Motorcycle Helmets and the Law
As we mentioned above, motorcycle helmets are required by law in this country if you’re riding your bike, no matter where you’re riding. However, when it comes to standards for motorcycle helmets South Africa isn’t as strict as many other countries. In order to meet safety standards, motorcycle helmets must be approved by the SABS (the South African Bureau of Standards). However, there are no rankings or other requirements for a helmet to be deemed legally safe. All motorbike helmets on sale in South Africa should be SABS approved, though the same is not true should you see helmets for sale on foreign websites, for example.
In order to make sure that your chosen helmet meets South African standards you should always check that it’s SABS certified, and if you’re buying from outside the country, check with the SABS first to make sure that the kind of helmet you’re buying is approved.
Also, keep in mind that when it comes to your motorcycle insurance your insurance company may also require that you wear a helmet. Not riding safely or not using the appropriate motorcycle gear such as a helmet may invalidate your insurance policy, meaning you won’t get the money you need after an accident.
What You’re Looking for in Motorcycle Helmets
If you’re shopping around for motorbike helmets you’ll see that you’ve got plenty of choices. But what exactly are you looking for? There are actually several factors that you should be considering if you want the best and safest kind of helmet to ride in.
Styles of Motorcycle Helmets
The first of these factors is style. Motorcycle helmets come in several different style. There are helmets that fit only on top of the head (“skullcap” helmets), those that cover the ears, some that cover your whole head but leave your face exposed, and finally those that completely cover the head and the face as well. By far the safest of these choices are the last kind of helmet in that list: one that covers your entire head and face. Remember that you’re talking about an important piece of safety gear here, and though a full face helmet may not look as cool as you’d like, you stand a higher chance of surviving a crash if you wear one.
In recent years, modular motorcycle helmets have become very popular. These are helmets with removable pieces (such as visor, chin strap and cheekpads) that allow you to have one helmet that becomes any style that you want it to be. If you’re unsure about the style of helmet you want, a modular helmet may be a good buy, though they tend to be more expensive than traditional motorcycle helmets.
The Fit of the Helmet
Once you’ve decided on the style of the motorcycle helmets you’re looking at, you need to think about fit. We recommend that you do go to a store in person and try helmets on, since everyone has a differently shaped head! The measurement for motorcycle helmets is usually given in inches and is the circumference of your head measured just above your eyebrows and around the thickest part of your skull. However, some brands run big and some run small, so you’ll need to try a helmet on anyway.
What are you looking for when it comes to fit? You want the helmet to be tight, in fact, almost uncomfortable. Motorcycle helmets should NOT move at all when you’re wearing them, and the helmet should be snug against all areas of your head, including the top and back. If you’re trying on motorcycle helmets then wear them for at least five minutes so you can get an idea of whether they’re tight enough or too tight!
Motorcycle Helmets and Colour
Okay, we get it, you’re looking at motorcycle gear and you want to look great. That black bike helmet might look cool, but it’s probably not going to be your safest choice. As a biker you want to be seen by other vehicles on the road. The safest motorcycle helmets are in bright colours and are reflective. You can buy additional reflective strips to put onto your helmet if you need them. This way, everyone will see you coming, and that’s a good thing.
There are a couple of other concerns that you should be thinking about while shopping for motorcycle helmets. The first of these is ventilation. If you’re going riding in the summer months ventilation in your helmet can be very important. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to judge how well ventilated a bike helmet is without actually riding in it. Check recommendations from other bikers, wear the helmet itself for as long as possible before buying, and look for ventilation features in product descriptions.
You may also want to look for a removable lining. Motorcycle helmets do get pretty dirty quite fast, and sweaty too if you’re riding in summer. A removable lining will allow you to take the inside out of the helmet and wash it, resulting in a more comfortable ride for you.
If you have chosen to go with a helmet that covers your face with a visor you might also want to be on the look out for an anti-fog feature. This will stop your visor getting clouded or steamed up if you’re driving in rain or damp weather. Not all motorcycle helmets feature anti-fog technology, but it’s worth searching out one that does if you’re an all weather rider.
Motorcycle Helmets in Summary
A good motorcycle helmet should fit snugly, cover your head and face, be bright and reflective and give you clear vision on both sides. How much can you expect to pay? Anything from around R1,000 and up. Yes, that’s a solid investment, but do remember that one day that motorcycle helmet might save your life!
Main Subject: motorcycle helmets
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