There has been an increase in the use of bicycles and motorcycles with many of them being used for sport, off-road, which often take place at very high speeds and in road conditions that are rarely of the best. These activities and the increasing number of accidents for users of these vehicles has led to the development of protective gear of which off-road helmets are just a part.
Accidents have been documented over the years and show a definite risk of brain injury when you are riding a motorcycle. In motor cross events, the rides also involve jumps and skidding on wet ground at high speeds. Once you fall off a bike, you are bound to hit the ground, and the speed of the vehicle and its weight can injure the body and cause you to land on your head. Helmets give added protection to the head and have been said to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in off-road races.
The falling off a motorcycle in off-road events is not in any way like falling off a bicycle on the road. You are going much faster, often lose control of the vehicle because of the road conditions or race competitors. Bikers in these events often jump off when they lose control or fear a fall. When this happens at high speeds you have very little control on how you will hit the ground, and often off-road helmets and other protective gear like pads, knee braces, boots, and gloves can save you from a horrific injury.
Knee braces can help to guard the knees, boots can protect ankles, gloves the hands and helmets can protect the face and neck. Helmets can also protect you from the wind on the face, and noise that can otherwise be a distraction. Over 40 percent of injuries of the head in motorcycle accidents result in death, and people who wear helmets are better protected.
Helmets have an outer shell, a liner that absorbs impact, padding to make it comfortable to use and a means of retaining the helmet even during accidents. Outer shells are made of tough fiber reinforced plastics and the material will compress when it meets a hard object. This acts to disperse the force and increases the safety for the wearer. The liner that absorbs impact is made of expanded polystyrene and absorb any shock coming in from the outer shell. The comfort layer is to make the helmet comfortable for the wearer. It has very little role to play in absorbing any impact from accidents. The retention system consists of straps or other devices to ensure that the helmet stays firmly on the head even during accidents.
In addition, most helmets will have visors that can be flipped open. A helmet must fit snugly onto the head of the motor cross driver, and not cause any discomfort. It must allow for a clear vision of the road and also allow you to hear people near you when they talk. These items of safety gear can go a long way to making all off-road events safer and more enjoyable.