400,000 motorcyclists using crash helmets that 'need to be replaced'

Crash helmets
A helmet is the single most important piece of safety equipment a biker wears

New survey suggests many motorcyclists have a blasé attitude to helmet safety, as Ian Marsden reports

Almost 400,000 UK motorcyclists are using crash helmets that need to be replaced because they no longer offer maximum protection, new research suggests.

Helmet manufacturers and independent safety experts, such as the Snell Foundation, agree that helmets should be worn for no more than five years due to degradation in the glues and resins. However, a survey commissioned by motorcycle insurer Carole Nash has found that 62 per cent of motorcyclists would only buy a new helmet if they had been involved in an accident.

In addition, 63 per cent said they would continue to use their helmet after dropping it, even though there would be a risk that it had suffered internal damage that cannot be seen. And while nearly half of bikers (45 per cent) will initially spend more than £200 on their helmet, 38 per cent opt for one finished in fashionable – but hard to spot – black, ahead of more visible options such as blue (14 per cent) and yellow (six per cent).

Rebecca Donohue, head of marketing at Carole Nash, said: “While it’s encouraging to see that bikers are making an initial investment in their lids, we urge them to not see this as a one-time expense. With premium manufacturers like Arai offering free helmet checks to their customers, we would even recommend bikers who have just dropped their helmets to get them checked out. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Tips for buying a helmet

  1. Always buy new
  2. Buy a reputable brand and ensure the helmet is certified to either British Standard 6658: 1985 or ECE Regulation 22.05
  3. If you plan to use the helmet for racing in the UK, make sure it also features the ACU Gold Sticker
  4. Try before you buy to ensure the fit is snug, but not too tight; the helmet should not be removable by having someone push from the base at the back of the helmet
  5. Opt for bright colours that will make you more visible in traffic; some designs now incorporate fluorescent areas for added night time visibility, and there are even helmets with built in lights
  6. If still unsure, check out test results at sites such as Sharp.direct.gov.uk

For all the latest news, advice and reviews from Telegraph Cars, sign up to our weekly newsletter by entering your email here

Latest motorcycle reviews

Ducati XDiavel review: has Ducati gone soft?