If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash, it may be some time before you’re able to ride – or want to ride – again. When you’re ready, making sure that your bike is fully repaired is crucial, unless you’ve had to buy a new one.
It’s probably going to be necessary to buy a new helmet as well – even if it appears to be fine. If you struck your head – and your helmet – on the ground, a vehicle or any other hard surface in the crash, there’s no question that you shouldn’t ride with that helmet again. To understand why, you need to know what happens inside a helmet during a crash.
The protective foam
Some helmets contain a special foam called expanded polystyrene (EPS) that’s intended to protect the wearer’s head in a crash. However, it’s only designed to sustain one impact. When the helmet strikes the ground or something else that’s hard, that foam is likely damaged.
Other helmets contain a foam called expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam. Helmets with this type of foam sometimes claim to be able to survive more than one impact. However, there’s no way of knowing how much the EPP was damaged in a crash. Therefore, it’s smart to err on the side of caution and not wear the helmet again.
The outer casing
There’s an outer casing that surrounds the foam but isn’t visible. That casing can suffer cracks that minimize its ability to protect the head. This kind of damage, like the damage to the foam, isn’t noticeable just by looking at the helmet.
Disposing of a potentially damaged helmet
When replacing your helmet after a crash, never give your old helmet away. Don’t throw it away, either, because someone could find it and use it. Any local helmet retailer can direct you to somewhere to safely recycle it or give you some possible alternative uses for it.
A new helmet is just one expense after a crash. If you’re seeking compensation from an at-fault driver’s or motorcyclist’s insurer, be sure to include that in your damages. This is just one reason why you should never agree to a settlement until you have a complete picture of all your expenses and other damages.