is the best way to clean the helmet?:
However check with your helmet manufacturer as some helmets in which
the inner lining is stuck with glue could get unstuck due to the
For cleaning the shell use a clear water and mild soap solution.
Fill a bath bucket quarter full with lukewarm water. Submerge the
helmet in the bucket and wash it with baby shampoo. Rinse and repeat
a few times and eventually all the dirt will be washed out. As you
wash the dirt away, the foam expands within the helmet and returns
to its original size. The result is a nicer smelling lid, which
fits a lot better too. With a detachable lining, you can follow
the same procedure or wash the lining separately.
Do not accelerate the drying process. Let the helmet dry naturally.
Don't put a hair dryer inside or place it over a heater. The best
place really is on a bed of towels in an airing cupboard so it just
airs the helmet naturally and dries it out. It should take two to
three days to dry the helmet.
What is the life of a helmet?:
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to helmet life as it
depends on the sort of life it's had. If it's abused from birth
a helmet's going to wear out a lot quicker than one kept in a hermetically-sealed
box between infrequent outings.
A helmet's life is deemed to start when it is first used. So you
can happily buy helmets that have been manufactured years before
as the clock doesn't start ticking properly while the lid is stored
in a cool, dark place at a steady temperature. The manufacturers'
stipulations of a five-year life are an estimate based on 'average'
daily use and take into account all the wear and tear you would
expect in those circumstances. The factors that affect a helmet's
effective life are wind and rain, sweat, sunlight and road dirt.
Basically it's the internals that suffer; with loose linings, dents
in the polystyrene, fraying straps, fatigued buckles, loose visor
fixings. As far as the shell goes, early polycarbonate shells are
susceptible to damage from UV rays. The life of a fibreglass shell
is a grey area once again. The accepted wisdom in the industry is
that the resins used to hold the fibres together start to degrade
over time, but by how much is still unknown. Though we think it
is only an issue when it is allied to use.
Whenever a helmet is stored properly its 'life-clock' is on pause.
If the helmet is showing obvious signs of wear in the above areas
it needs replacing. If you've dropped it or had a crash and banged
it on the deck the shock-absorbing polystyrene lining will have
compressed and needs replacing immediately.
When should you scrap a helmet?:
The impact absorption of a crash helmet is performed by the polystyrene
liner, not the hard outer shell that is there to protect the polystyrene
from any sliding impact and everyday wear and tear (and also carry
flash paint schemes). When there's an impact on a crash helmet the
polystyrene liner absorbs the force by compressing. If there is
a subsequent impact in the same area the liner won't be able to
absorb as much, if any of the shock, and will pass some or all of
the force onto your head.
If a helmet has rolled of a saddle or dropped from waist height
on to the floor it is recommended that you change the helmet, even
if there are no visible signs of damage. Helmets are a delicate
article that should be cared for. There is no surefire way of checking
whether a helmet has been damaged or not. The rule of thumb is that
if the helmet has got a small scuff on it, then take a look inside
at the polystyrene to see if there are any cracks on it.
The rumour that if your head ain't in it then the lid doesn't get
damaged even if dropped, is rubbish.
What is the correct procedure for dealing
with a rider who has been involved in an accident when it comes
to removing their helmet?:
The guideline, "Do not remove the helmet unless really necessary",
is the correct one for Joe Public in the street, as there's nothing
worse than some good meaning bystander trying to lift off the helmet
without undoing the strap.
The only reason you would want to remove the helmet is if the victim
can't breathe properly or needs artificial respiration. You can
get the air passage clear by lifting the visor and accessing the
mouth. The modern helmet comes with a choice of two main securing
methods, a D-ring or a seat belt type locking action. The D-ring
has the helmet strap threaded through it to be secure, the other
works in a similar way to a car seat belt.
So there you have it. Everything you wanted to know about helmets
and some more. The next time you hop on to your bike, remember to
strap on that lid. And don't be selfish, see to it that your pillion
also has his/her helmet strapped on. There is nothing worse than
walking away from a crash while your pillion has to be carted away
in an ambulance.