The helmet is the most important safety element when riding a motorcycle. But they also have a recommended expiry date and any mistreatment can compromise their effectiveness.
Studies are categorical regarding the effectiveness of the helmet: its use decreases the risk and severity of injury by up to 72%, but, more importantly, it reduces the probability of death by up to 40%.
How to ensure your greatest effectiveness
First of all, maintaining your helmet well is essential. However, no matter how hard you try to care and handle it, at some point you will really have to change it.
Most manufacturers recommend replacement within five years of purchase, as elements such as polycarbonate plastics and foams lose their effectiveness due to exposure to the elements. In the case of helmets with fiber or carbon fiber mixtures, their use can eventually be extended between 8 and 10 years, provided they are in perfect condition and have not suffered knocks or falls. It should be noted that European regulations do not oblige manufacturers to mark the expiration date on the helmet.
The condition of the helmet’s elements is normally a faithful indicator of the need for replacement.
If the foams crumble, if the fasteners do not fulfill their function, if the surface is scratched, or if the structure has been deformed by a blow or a fall, then the effectiveness of the helmet will be practically nil, even if it does not show visible damage, such as cracks, holes or deformations.
High temperatures, abrasive elements, humidity, and bad storage practices that can cause deformation or simply prolonged wear are other elements that can reduce the protection capacity.