Does Helmet Padding Affect Helmet Safety?

When you are shopping for motorcycle helmets online, safety should be a top priority. Most motorcycle helmets have a hard shell on the outside and pads on the inside. Many helmets have removable and replaceable padding. You may wonder if this can affect the safety of the helmet. Understanding the construction of motorcycle helmets will help illuminate the role of padding, i.e does helmet padding affect helmet safety?

Padding and Helmet Safety

Padding and Helmet Safety
Source: Overdrive

Motorcycle helmets are made from three basic layers: a rigid outer shell, an impact-absorbing liner, and padding. The rigid outer shell protects the rider against abrasions and helps to deflect some impacts due to being round. The liner does the majority of impact absorption. These two layers are the most important for safety from an impact perspective.

The padding absorbs and a little bit of additional impact but that is not its primary role. Instead, the padding is there to make the helmet comfortable to wear and to hold it firmly in place. This plays a big role in safety because it can be very dangerous if your helmet can twist on your head or fly off during a crash.

So, yes, padding does affect safety by making sure the helmet fits snuggly on your head. However, it does not significantly affect the protection against abrasions or impacts.

What Are SNELL Certified Helmets?

SNELL Certified Helmets
Source: Best Beginner Motorcycles

Helmet designs undergo testing to receive ratings from various bodies. SNELL certification is provided by the Snell Memorial Foundation. The most recent version of the Snell standard is M2020. However, this is relatively recent. So, if you are shopping for off-road helmets, for example, you are more likely to find SNELL M2015 certified dirt bike helmets.

The Snell ratings are considered to be the most rigorous, followed closely by the ECE (Economic Commission for Europe). The U.S. Department of Transportation also requires ratings for helmets. However, this is easier to pass than the other two.

Snell certification is entirely voluntary for road helmets. So, if you see a road helmet that has received this certification, it means the manufacturer went the extra mile.

Make Your Motorcycle Helmet as Safe as Possible

Make Your Motorcycle Helmet as Safe as Possible
Source: Unsplash

When you are looking for a safe helmet, check for the safety ratings to ensure it meets the necessary requirements. Additionally, make sure the helmet fits your head comfortably. These two characteristics are the most important.

You should also consider getting a full-face helmet as these are typically the safest. Modular helmets and open face are also effective but have some extra vulnerabilities. Half helmets are the least safe.

Finally, make sure to buy a new helmet at least every five years. Wear and tear will slowly degrade the helmet. Buying a new one periodically will help you stay safe.

Choose a Safe Motorcycle Helmet

Check out some of the top 10 street motorcycle helmets. Many of these have excellent safety ratings and are likely to fit your head comfortably. Explore the options today and remember to be picky. It is better to check out a few helmets to find the right one than to settle for something that is not fully safe.

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