For motorcyclists, the thrill of the open road comes with specific risks and dangers,
usually crashes commonly caused by motorists pulling out into oncoming traffic or turning in front of a cyclist, violating their right-of-way. The consequences of these accidents can be catastrophic.
Motorcycles have a higher rate of fatal accidents than automobiles, trucks or buses.
Data for 2005 from the United States Department of Transportation from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS, created by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) show that 18.62 fatal passenger car crashes occur per 100,000 registered vehicles, while the figure for motorcycles is 75.19 per 100,000 registered vehicles--four times higher. The data show that 1.56 fatalities occur per 100 million vehicle miles travelled for passenger cars, but for motorcycles the figure is 43.47/100 million miles--28 times higher.
Motorcyclists can avoid some of these crashes and/or mitigate their results by better training and riding experience, taking extra precautions at night and during bad weather, maintaining safe speeds, not engaging in impaired riding, and very importantly, by choosing and wearing proper, superior performance safety equipment, especially motorcycle helmets. Although they’re not universally mandated, studies consistently show that wearing a helmet reduces injury and increases a rider's chance of surviving a crash. Helmets are made in hard and energy-absorbing layers (the first spreads an impact over a larger area, the latter absorbs energy so less is transferred to the skull and brain), come in varying shapes and styles (flip-face, open-face, full-face) and provide different levels of protection to different parts of a rider’s head and face.
At Bell Powersports’ (established in 1954 in Bell, California, U.S.) testing lab, known as DOME (Design, Observation, Materials and Engineering), researchers simulate a variety of crash impact situations, utilizing the company’s Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) and Flex movable helmet liners.
MIPS features what’s known as “slip-plane-technology” that increases head protection with a shock-absorbing inner structure designed to rotate slightly on impact, reducing rotational forces caused by brain-damaging angled impacts. MIPS liners are said to achieve a 30% reduction in rotational forces.
During the impact testing, engineers use magnesium for different size head forms that are placed inside helmets. Magnesium has a density similar to a human head and the metal produces negligible sound resonance that can interfere with test results.
See more pictures and watch videos of Bell helmet testing at http://www.motorcycle.com/features/bell-helmets-dome-rd-lab-tour.html
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