A motorcycle helmet is a type of protective headgear used by motorcycle riders. The primary goal is safety of the rider, to protect the head during impact, thus preventing or reducing head injury or saving the rider's life.
Some helmets provide additional conveniences, such as face shields, ventilation, ear protection, intercom etc. Helmets can have some inconveniences, such as being hot, heavy, or itchy.
History of the Helmet
The first motorcycle was reported to have been invented by Gottlieb Daimler in 1885. As the motorcycles weren't built for speed helmets weren't used.
Between 1931 and 1953, the American race for the fastest motorcycle was run by two competitors - Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles. But as the speed of motorcycles increased, so did the number of accident fatalities. It was only then that University of Southern California (USC) Professor C.F. "Red" Lombard developed a helmet designed to absorb the shock of an impact. Along with the layer of comfort padding in a helmet, it also had an outer layer of padding that not only absorbed, but spread out the energy created by impact.
In 1953, Lombard applied for a patent for his helmet. Development of the modern-day motorcycle helmet progressed following Lombard's design.
Design and Function
The conventional helmet has two principal protective components:
A thin, hard, outer shell typically made from polycarbonate plastic, fiberglass, or Kevlar. This is used to prevent penetration of the helmet by a pointed object that might otherwise puncture the skull and to provide structure to the inner liner so it does not disintegrate upon abrasive contact with pavement.
A soft, thick, inner liner usually made of expanded polystyrene or polypropylene foam. The foam liner is to crush during an impact, thereby increasing the distance and period of time over which the head stops and reducing its deceleration. It also improves comfort for the rider.