Soft, like a watermelon

HFL, Positions -


helmetsYour mom probably warned you not to ride a motorcycle, and if you did, to wear a helmet. Too many bikers ignore their mother’s advice and go without. That’s fine by us, but we got to wondering what statistical difference a helmet’s impact has on the whole dying thing. Since no accident is ever the same, nor is a helmet the sole contributing factor to survival, we chose to look at how many riders were killed from head injuries out of all of those who died. Mother knows best.

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  • Max

    Great illustration Grant. I love the style of this site.

  • Christian Edstrom

    Cool illo!

    I think the 35% to 51% ratio understates the mortality differences between helmeted riders and unhelmeted riders, though.

    The survivability of a serious accident is based on the Injury Severity Score – a compound measure of the abbreviated injury scale (AIS) of each of your injuries. And more injuries drastically reduce survivability. So if a rider has a severe lower body laceration, the severity of his head injury will actually be a factor in his likelihood of surviving.

    Motorcyclist had a good review of this in their (controversial) review of helmet design and standards.

    Oh yeah, and happy birthday to the EIC.

  • Wes Siler

    Thanks Christian.

    I think one of the things this illustration demonstrates is how difficult it is to quantify the exact statistical benefit of wearing safety gear, there’s just too many factors in any accident or in any injury to consider. In an ideal world it wouldn’t even be necessary to attempt to make such a comparison, because, as we all know, crashing without a helmet is going to kill you. If it doesn’t, you got a lot more lucky than you will the next time.

    Motorcyclist’s article highlights the need for an independent global agency to conduct research into helmet effectiveness and how to improve it, providing riders with a reliable and transparent evaluation of each and every helmet’s ability to protect their head and working to make all helmets safer. In the meantime, Hell For Leather is going to stick to wearing high quality full face helmets from reputable manufacturers, accompanied by the full retinue of protective gear for the rest of our bodies.