When Safeboda rolled out with operations in Uganda four years ago, their major emphasis was on creating a safe traveling experience for their hailers, and this included elements such as ensuring mandatory reflector and helmet wearing by their riders and customers.
In not one, but at various occasions, I have happened to share space with individuals who carry their own helmets in case the “boda” guy (cyclist) doesn’t happen to have an extra.
This kind of baffled me for years, as to why anyone would really labor to carry a helmet everywhere they go. Like “Why the Bother?” “Eish, isn’t it extra discomfort having to carry one all the damn time?” but like I have said it all makes sense now, as to why some people go an extra mile to purchase their own helmets.
In the ideal world, every motorcyclist ought to have a helmet for themselves and another for their client that they are riding on a trip to the desired destination which mandates their cyclists to always have an extra helmet, one for them (rider) and the other for the client (you).
Various people including I myself may give excuses such as; “ahh ahh, the helmet is quite uncomfortable, they bring too much heat, and how they mess hair etc” but the truth of the matter we actually need them more than they need us.
There’s a popular saying that goes around that; “a helmet may save your life but leave you in a vegetative state.”, which rather implies that uncomfortable as it might be, having to dawn one, it carries its perks too.
Common excuses some people give for being reluctant to wearing helmets include that: they mess up their hair/ make up, are quite uncomfortable (cause discomfort), are too hot, or that they don’t really help prevent injuries or save lives.
Given how our cyclists ride around town, wanting to overtake everyone and everything while defy basic traffic norms and regulations on the road, as an ardent “boda boda passenger”, owning a helmet is inevitable. According to helmet safety statistics, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by up to 70%. This should make a helmet a mandatory part of your cycling gear. However, some cyclists still do not choose to wear one. 54% of cyclist fatalities are related to not wearing a helmet.
Because being responsible is the new cool, the importance of a helmet can never be understated. Wearing a helmet reduces the severity of injuries in non-fatal accidents as well. Here are some more reasons to wear a helmet whenever you are aboard a motorcycle on the road:
Helmets Protect Your Head. In the case of an accident, heads are often the first body parts to become injured. That’s why it is crucial to choose a helmet that fits properly. Wearing the right size helmet protects both your head and brain, preventing external and internal damage.
Protect Your Eyes. Helmet protects your eyes – A full-faced helmet covers your entire face, providing you the complete protection in case you go through an accident. This type of helmet protects your eyes from sharp wind, strong sun rays, dust particles and high beam lights when riding hence reducing severe discomfort and inconvenience, which can hinder your vision resulting in untoward incidents. Also, the design of this helmet allows you to have a maximum sight range while on the road.
Proper Cycling Helmets Increase Visibility. A cycling helmet that has reflective strips or lights can make you much more visible to drivers. This is crucial, especially at dawn and dusk and during times of poor visibility. A brightly colored helmet is a good choice for visibility during the day, as well. This explains why helmets are designed in bright colors like orange, and green.
They do Protect from Bad Weather. Bad weather is another reason to wear a helmet. If your bicycle or a motorcycle is your main form of transportation or travel by bike a great deal, you may have to ride during inclement weather. A helmet, especially one with a visor, can help protect you from rain, wind gusts, and the sun’s Ultra Violent damage.
Last but not least, helmets add to your style quotient. The importance of using a helmet is not just limited to safety and comfort. It also improves your style significantly. You can always choose a helmet of your preference that will add up to your style and appearance.
Helmets are available in different price ranges and in different styles, so there is definitely a helmet that works for you! There is no need to put off buying a helmet any longer. Helmets are available at various sporting goods retailers, shops, and motorcycling and off-road stores. You can even order an affordable helmet online, but you need to make sure you choose the right size for a perfect fit.
What to Look Out for When Purchasing One (Tips to Remember While Buying a Motorcycle Helmet):
In addition to knowing the importance of a helmet, a rider/ passenger you don’t just go pick up the first helmet you find, you must also learn how to choose the right helmet, and below are some of the elements in a helmet to consider:
Cushioning. The primary importance of a helmet is in its ability to protect your skull from injuries during a crash or any other serious mishap. It is the inner cushioning that’s vital for providing the necessary protection. While buying a helmet, ensure there is proper cushioning available to absorb the impact of a fatal crash. A helmet with a flat inner surface will be useless in protecting your head from damage.
Know the size of your head. Every individual comes with a different body structure and head size. You need to be aware of your head size before shopping for a helmet. There are mainly three types of head structures: round oval, intermediate oval, and long oval. While buying a helmet, try it on your head. If you find it exerting pressure at all the wrong points, it is not for you. So, it is important to test a helmet to see where exactly it is putting pressure. A perfectly sized helmet will fit your head just like a crown and prevent any discomfort.
When the helmet is placed on the head, it should fit comfortably as well as snugly but not too tight. It should sit level on the head and not rock from side to side. There should be a chin strap and buckle to hold the helmet in place and they should be used when the helmet is worn. There should be a hard outer shell on the helmet and an absorbent liner about one-half inch thick.
Other considerations to put in place:
Buy a helmet for the driver as well as the pillion riders to ensure the safety of all the people riding on the bike.
Always buy a full-faced helmet as it covers your entire face and provides overall safety.
Helmets also have an expiry date. Thus, you should get a new helmet every 3-5 years.
Clean the glass of your helmet on regular basis to ensure a clear vision while driving your bike.
Replace your helmet immediately after it has been damaged in a collision.
Your life is precious, don’t compromise on safety. Get one today; Get you a helmet today! If you can’t get your hands on a personal one, endeavor to ask for one from your motorcycle rider before a trip is started. A happy week to you!