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Most sport-type activities have their own suitable protective gear and equipment and motorcycling is no different. Every rider and passenger should wear a helmet. Helmets work and their effectiveness has been confirmed by scientific studies and myths such as helmets block vision, break necks and impair hearing have been dispelled.
A helmet is not a cure-al for motorcyclist safety but in a crash it will help to protect your brain, your face and your life. Crashes can happen anywhere and wearing a helmet to just pop down to the store is just as important as wearing one on a longer journey.
Wearing a helmet will not only help to save your life in the case of an accident but they cut down on wind noise roaring in your ears, windblast on your face and eyes and the deflect bugs and other objects flying through the air. Wearing a helmet shows the world that you are responsible person and that you take motorcycling seriously.
There are four basic components that work together to provide protection in a motorcycle helmet. The outer shell, an impact absorbing liner, the comfort padding and a good retention system.
The outer shell is made from fiber reinforced composites or thermoplastics like polycarbonate. This is tough stuff, yet is designed and intended to compress when it hits anything hard. That action disperses energy from the impact to lessen the force before it reaches your head, but it does not act alone to protect you.
Inside the shell there is an equally important impact absorbing liner, usually made from expanded polystyrene, often thought of as Styrofoam. This dense layer cushions and absorbs shock as the helmet sops and your head wants to keep moving.
Both the shell and the liners compress if hit hard, spreading the forces of impact throughout the helmet material. The more impact-energy deflected or absorbed the less there is of it to reach your head and brain and do damage. Some helmets delaminate on impact, others may crack and break if forced to take severe hits, this is one way a helmet acts to absorb shock. It is doing its intended job. Impact damage from a crash to the non-resilient liner may be invisible to the eye, it may look normal but it may have little protective value left and should be replaced.
The comfort padding is the soft foam and cloth layer that sits next to your head. It helps keep you comfortable and the helmet fitting snugly. In some helmets this can even be taken out for cleaning.
The chin strap is very important. It is the one piece that keeps the helmet on your head in a crash. Every time you put your helmet on you should ensure the chin strap is secured.
Last month some American activists kicked off a campaign in Thailand to promote the importance of wearing motorcycle helmets and drove a truck through seventy seven provinces. The founder of the Nong Khai based Isara Foundation is Kirk Gillock. Kirk has self funded the campaign and installed loud speakers into his vehicle to encourage bike drivers to wear helmets.
The Isara foundation believe that everyone can make a difference to all sorts of areas in the community but when it comes to helmets, they have donated more than 5,000.
More than 80% of people in Thailand use a motorbike as their main form of transport, this has lead to Thailand having some of the deadliest roads in the world.
Earlier this year the Public Health Ministry revealed that injuries and fatalities among motorcyclists accounted for 81.67% of all road accidents and that one rider dies every hour. A motorbike user is 37 times more likely to die in an accident than a car user.
According to the Land Transport Department figures for 2012 Thailand has about 19 million registered motorcycles and that is 58.6% of all registered vehicles.
Although motorcycle helmet use has been mandatory in Thailand since the enactment of the helmet lay in 1994, the non-compliance in helmet use has been considerably profound.
Excuses for not wearing a helmet are –
They are too heavy when really they weigh about half a pound.
I don’t need one if I don’t ride fast but even if you are just sitting on a stationary bike and you fall off you can damage both your head and your brain.
It will mess up my hair, well this is true, but not wearing one will mess up your head
I will look like a geek, actually you will look like a responsible bike rider who cares for his life and those around him who would be affected if he had a serious accident without one and having brain damage looks far less attractive.
They are too hot, this is also not really true as a helmet will protect your head from the hot tropical sun
I don’t need one if I stick to roads that are not busy, this is also not true, you can have an accident on any road no matter how much traffic there is.
I never fall off my bike, this is also not true, there is always a fist time.
None of my friends wear one, well as the old adage says, if your friend told you to jump off a bridge would you do it?
British teenager Ryan Smith took the decision to ride his bicycle without a helmet because he did not want to mess up his fashionable hairstyle, but during his journey he was hit by a van. His family took the heart breaking decision to allow the photographs of their now brain damaged son to be publicized in a hope to warn others of the dangers of not wearing a helmet.
The majority of head and brain injuries happen to motorcyclists who do not wearing helmets while operating a motorcycle. There are several different kinds of head injuries, and the type of injury will depend upon the severity of the accident, and the circumstances surrounding the accident:
Traumatic Brain Injury: Known as TBI, traumatic brain injury can shows up in many ways. For example, headaches, loss of balance, coordination difficulty, epilepsy, dizziness, and having a hard time swallowing are all symptoms of TBI. In addition, those suffering from TBI may have cognitive issues, such as forgetfulness, poor concentration, and difficulty in processing languages and information. Furthermore, mental health can be affected, and individuals with TBI can suffer from excessive anger, irritability, depression, and mood swings.
Spinal Cord Injuries: A spinal cord injury usually causes damage to brain communication. This happens because the fibers that send signals from the spinal cord to the brain are afflicted. This can cause a plethora of problems, such as osteoporosis, quadriplegia, bowel movement problems, sexual dysfunction, and more.
Skull Fractures: A fractured skull usually doesn’t require extensive medical treatment, but in some instances, it may cause brain damage. Skull fractures that damage the brain will typically make brain damage more serious, which can lead to damaged arteries and veins.
The brain is an organ that cannot heal on its own like many of the body’s other organs are able to do. In consequence, those who suffer from head and brain injuries will more than likely spend a lot of time in medical facilities and possibly spend an extraordinary amount of money for treatment and therapy.
Out of every fatal motorbike collisions and accidents where the drivers were not wearing helmets at least 37 lives could have been saved.
The Thai Health Promotion Foundation and BBDO Proximity Thailand have created a campaign to encourage the proper use of motorbike helmets you can watch at video here