It’s one of the age-old questions of motorcycling: open-face or full-face helmet?
For open-face “brain-bucket” proponents, it’s a matter of fashion, choice and freedom. There is also a look-at-me factor and, for some, the ability to smoke!
For full-face helmet wearers, it’s also about fashion, but mainly safety. They also like the anonymity a full-face helmet provides.
Apparently Valentino Rossi likes to ride around London in a black full-face helmet with a dark visor so no one knows who is lane filtering next to them.
There is little doubt a full-face lid is safer in a crash. The Icon Airframe helmet even includes crash statistics printed on the shell to show the likelihood of that part of your head hitting the tar in a crash. The chin bar area hits the ground in 19.4% of crashes!
I have a friend who T-boned a car that drove out in front of him and he now has massive facial scars because he was wearing an open-face helmet.
Even so, I still feel more secure riding in traffic with an open-face helmet because there are fewer blind spots and I am more aware of noise and movement around me.
Technology is coming to the aid of riders with full-face helmets that include cameras, mirrors, head-up displays and SOS beacons.
There are many “smart helmets” with integrated technology such as head-up display units in the offing, but they are slow to come to market.
This hi-tech full-face Guardian helmet by FUSAR Technologies even has black-box recording technologies so you can prove fault in a crash.
While I welcome the improved safety of helmets, my concern is that governments or insurance companies could step in and force our choices.
In some American states, you can choose to not wear a helmet, but you must be 21 or over and have more than $10,000 medical insurance. It wouldn’t take much for the nanny state to enforce similar rules for wearers of open-face helmets.
Do you wear an open-face or full-face helmet and why? Leave your comments below.