Not all motorcycle helmets offer adequate protection in crashes
Throughout the world, motorcycles are a major contributor to road crashes that involve deaths and serious injuries. In response, many US states and foreign countries have enacted motorcycle helmet laws. Although a review of the scientific literature shows that wearing helmets has led to a marked decrease in the number of rider deaths and injuries, few studies have addressed the role played by different types of helmets in preventing head and facial injuries.
A team of researchers in Brazil compared the ability of two helmet typesâ€”full-face and open faceâ€”to decrease the incidence of head and facial injuries among motorcycle riders.
A total of 253 motorcyclists who had sustained these types of injuriesâ€”many of them with facial fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)â€”were referred for outpatient treatment. Of this number, 46 reported having used full-face helmets, 56 reported having used open-face helmets, and 156 reported having used no helmets at all.
While no significant differences in injuries were noted between the open-face helmet users and the unhelmeted riders, those who had used full-face helmets were found to have suffered substantially fewer head and facial injuries. These results led the researchers to conclude that full-face helmets offer more protection and to recommend further investigation into helmet types and the quality of protection they offer.