Motorbike Helmet Buying Guide

Buying a motorbike helmet is a serious business, as this is an item which may one day save your life.

Motorbike helmets have been developed not only to protect the head in the event of a road accident – but also as a fashion statement. The cool, edgy image of bikers took a hit when wearing a protective helmet became law in the UK, but safety helmet design has become so cutting edge that helmets are almost as cool as the motorcycles themselves.


Motorbike crash helmets are made from a range of materials designed to make them resilient yet comfortable to wear. These include materials like polycarbonate plastic, fibreglass, carbon and Kevlar – a super strong woven material.

The interior protective layer of motorbike helmets is often polystyrene, which cushions the head, but which can compress during an impact.

Motorbike helmets need to be replaced regularly and should never be re-used after an impact, as the protective polystyrene layer will most like have been damaged in an accident. For this reason, you should never buy a second hand motorbike helmet, in case it has been damaged internally in a road crash.

When buying a new motorbike helmet, a few factors to consider are:

  • Motorbike crash helmets must bear the British kitemark and preferably the gold ACU sticker
  • Motorbike crash helmets are available as full-face helmets or partly open: choose a full-face helmet preferably, as this will protect you from head and facial injury, as well as dust, wind chill, sunburn, and having insects blown into your face. A liner which can be removed for washing is also a plus
  • Visor helmets must also have a British kitemark on the visor – and look for a visor which is anti-mist, so that it does not become steamed up in cold weather or humid conditions
  • Comfort is important so make sure the helmet is the correct size, the chin strap fits properly without being too slack or cutting into your skin – look for padded chin straps; and choose helmets with cheek pads which can be changed for larger or smaller pads
  • Crash helmets should also have air-vents in them to let out moisture and keep your head as cool as possible.

The fit of a helmet is crucial to protecting your head – and everyone has a different-shaped head, so take your time and try on as many different styles as possible until you find the best fit.

The Department of Transport has launched the SHARP rating system for motorbike helmets and more information is available at

Finally, always wear your motorbike helmet – motorcyclists are perhaps the most vulnerable to injury and death of all road users because of their exposure, the speed at which they travel and the fact that other road users often do not see them approaching.

The wind in your hair may be a great feeling – but without a crash helmet, it may turn out to be the last feeling you have.

If you do suffer injury in a motorbike accident as a result of another road user, remember you have three years in which to make a claim for compensation from the date of the injury, so seek legal help as soon as possible.

A motorcycle injury after having an accident can leave you with physical and emotional scars and compensation can help.

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