Riding a motorcycle is a thrilling experience for sure. While it is the preferred mode of transport for many, it is a popular leisure activity for most people, especially in the USA. If you are a regular motorist, you must know that riding a motorcycle not only has its fair share of an adrenaline rush, but also numerous risks to the riders and those sharing the road with them.
If you own a motorbike or have ridden one with someone else, you must know that the experience is extremely stimulating and nerve-racking at the same time. When sitting on a motorcycle, you are literally exposed to the dangers of the road. Nothing is covering or supporting your body, and you are totally on your own, which is why it is extremely dangerous and risky to be riding a bike regularly.
However, we do realize most people prefer motorcycles because they are economical – they are cheaper than cars, and you can also save up on gas money. Moreover, they are small in size and faster than cars, so you save yourself from the hassle of being stuck in traffic for hours and reach places much quicker on a motorcycle than you would in a car.
Nonetheless, it is still essential to be careful of the risks when riding a motorcycle. Hence, we recommend motorists to invest in safety gear – and one such important safety equipment is a helmet. While most people do not prefer wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle, it is extremely important to protect the rider from possible fatal head injuries and accidents.
If you are a motorist, you must keep reading this article. We have compiled a guide to help you ride safely and understand what you can do to make your motorcycle helmet quieter.
What is a Motorcycle Helmet?
You must have several motorcycle riders wearing round-shaped equipment on their head when they are on the road; well, that’s a motorcycle helmet.
A motorcycle helmet is a type of safety equipment designed to fit the head of motorcycle riders – to protect it from injuries in case of an impact or accident.
Regardless of the type of helmet, they are designed to reduce trauma and have 2 major components:
- an inner shell made from polystyrene foam to absorb shock
- a protective plastic layer on the outside to withhold impact
Why is it Important to Wear a Helmet?
We cannot emphasize more that wearing a helmet is extremely necessary for motorists – it is literally life-saving. Here are some reasons to help you understand the importance of wearing a helmet:
- Protects your Head from Injuries
As we discussed earlier, this is the major reason why every motorcycle rider needs a helmet on their head. Motorcycles are designed so that one wrong turn or a stroke of heavy winds and you can go sliding on the road. And the body part that is at the highest risk in an accident like this is your head.
Our skull is undoubtedly a protective layer for our very delicate organ – the brain. However, in cases of high impacts, your skull can be easily damaged, leading to internal injury to the brain, which can even be life-threatening. Wearing a helmet is the only way you can protect your head from trauma and impact.
- Protects you From Debris and Dust
There are many different types of helmets available on the market, and most of them are designed to cover your head and your eyes. And this is extremely helpful in avoiding coming in contact with dust and debris.
When you are on a motorcycle, you are likely to come in contact with debris kicked off the road or falling from a truck, or just some dust blowing in the air. This can enter your eyes or nose and become a serious obstacle in your driving and eventually lead to road accidents.
- Protects you from Weather Conditions
There is not much you can do to protect yourself on a bad weather day if you own a bike. There is nothing to cover you, and you have to deal with it – whether it’s cold, sunny, rainy, or snowy,
However, a helmet can at least protect your head and eyes so you can drive back home safely. Especially in the scorching heat where there is the likelihood of sunburn, or during rain and snow that can hinder your sight – a helmet can be very helpful and protective.
- Enhances Vision and Control
Some people might not agree with this; it has been observed that the right kind of helmet can help you focus more on the road and enhance your vision on the road. Moreover, many helmets are designed with a reflective mirror, which makes it easier for other drivers to spot you from a distance.
Some Stats to Convince You!
Apart from listing down all the substantial reasons why a helmet is important for motorcycle riders – here are some stats to further convince you.
- There have been 10 times more unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities in the USA than there have been of motorcyclists wearing helmets – 2017.
- After Michigan repealed its motorcycle helmet use law, the percentage of skull fracture-related injuries rose by 38%, and cases of head injury increased by 14%
- A study conducted on motorcycle crash victims between 201 to 2015 found that unhelmeted riders sustained cervical spine injuries twice more often than those who wore helmets.
Why Do Some People Do Not Like Wearing Helmets?
No matter how necessary helmets are for motorcycle riders, some people just do not like wearing helmets. While there are some with genuine and legitimate reasons, on the other hand, there are also people who just don’t like the idea of it. Here are common excuses used by people against helmets.
- Helmets Look Uncool
Young, especially teenage motorists who are new to the road, are likely to make excuses like these. Most young boys, full of thrill, consider helmets uncool and prefer looking more daring than boring – and ditch helmets on the road.
- Helmets can Be Uncomfortable.
There is no doubt that if you’re not used to wearing a helmet, you are likely to feel burdened and uncomfortable with wearing one. Helmets are an additional weight on your head, and most people don’t like carrying them when they are riding a motorcycle.
Therefore, it is advised to be watchful when buying a helmet. The right helmet that fits you well and is the right must not feel uncomfortable or burdening.
- Helmets can Cause Skin Rash.
The constant contact of a helmet with the forehead skin can lead to irritation and skin rash. This is why most motorists do not like wearing a helmet. However, an easy solution to this would be to be careful when buying a helmet. Do not purchase one that has rough fabric attached to the inner lining. And keep moisturizing the specific spot your helmet touches your skin to avoid friction.
- Helmets can be Noisy.
This is a big reason why many riders feel uncomfortable wearing motorcycle helmets and eventually ditch them – Is there such a thing as a quiet helmet?!
While you are on the road, the noise of the engine, the traffic, the tires screeching on the road gets a little overwhelming and too much for one person to handle.
But wearing a helmet also causes more noise. The sound of air being displaced inside the helmet, around your head, especially if you are wearing a full-face helmet, can reach up to 115DB – which is not only uncomfortable but also damaging.
Modular helmets add a bit more wind noise by just not having a full one-piece design like their full-face counterpart.
How to Make Your Motorcycle Helmet Quieter?
Long-term riding a motorcycle wearing a helmet can be extremely uncomfortable because of the noise and can also lead to impairing your hearing ability. This sound is caused by wind turbulence and vibrations that are created when you are on the road.
If you also face a similar issue and are planning to ditch your helmet just because of this – don’t worry; we have you covered. Here are tips to help you find more quiet motorcycle helmet & help prevent long term hearing loss from your rides:
1. Use Ear Plugs
Stuffing something in your ears can help avoid unwanted noise. We have done this before, and we do this often, so why not do this when we are riding a motorcycle? Buy a pair of custom-fitted earplugs that are comfortable and help cancel our noise.
Moreover, earplugs are portable, one-size-fits-all, and are hardly visible. So these tiny things will hinder nothing and help you avoid some wind noise.
Similarly, a pair of noise-canceling earmuffs can harm no one. They are not so expensive and are available in a wide variety in the market. They can help form a protective layer around your ear, and ear muffs with less padding can easily fit under a helmet.
There is a concern that you might not hear enough surrounding noise to be safe, but have you ever tried using ear plugs to sleep? They are not 100% noise reducing in my experience!
2. Buy a Well-Fitting Helmet
Most people don’t understand the importance of buying a good helmet. It might not be obvious if you’re newer to riding, but helmets are not one size fits all. They come in several designs, shapes, and sizes – and not all are suitable for everyone.
If you wear a helmet too tight, you are likely to feel suffocated and uncomfortable – hence this is definitely not the right choice for you. However, a helmet that is too loose is also not the right choice & lets in more road noises to bounce around & add to the noise you want to limit.
The space inside your helmet is what prevents wind having a space to swirl around – which leads to the noise once the bike starts moving.
To avoid all this, wear the right sized helmet that fits your head and neck area (with a well-formed neck roll), so it reduces vibration and reduces air travel INSIDE of the helmet.
You’ll also want the inside foam tight against your cheeks – not full on pressure but a snug fit giving you chipmunk cheeks to limit what makes it around your head for a well-fitted helmet.
Proper head measurements is a good start, and you can get help with that at a gear shop. I’ve been surprised by how different a Medium HJC felt against a Medium Sedici.
3. Buy the Right Helmet
The noise we want to target here is the wind & vibration that truly causes the discomfort you might be experiencing with a helmet. The more wind you let in, the more of that noise you’re contending with.
An open-faced helmet flat out doesn’t have a front or chin curtain area – you’re missing out on key wind blockers here!
So if you want to reduce the noise levels for yourself, you’ll want to consider a more complete full-face motorcycle helmet if you are searching for the quietest helmet. A closed helmet will reduce the level of wind noise at the start.
If you make some phone calls, you could get lucky & have a motorcycle gear shop that has an in store wind-tunnel. Then you can test out the well-fitted options in your quest to find the quietest motorcycle helmets & be able to test out the helmet manufacturer and store salespeople’s claims.
4. Close Your Helmet’s Wind Vents
If it’s hot outside, I can see you rolling your eyes right now. I get it. I also like to be able breath & not soak my helmet, so you have to pick & chose which options will work for you.
If you want the best wind noise reduction without having to buy a new helmet, a quick solution could be to close the air vents that you have open on your helmet. The tighter seal will make for a slightly quieter ride by keeping the wind out & not swirling around in your helmet.
5. Get a Windscreen
You must have seen some motorcycles come with a windscreen; have you wondered why? Before we knew their purpose, we thought motorists modified their bikes for aesthetics and attached a windscreen to their bikes just for the looks of it.
However, that is not the case. A windscreen allows the wind to flow upward and over the rider’s head. This way, the wind doesn’t hit the rider’s face and acts as a screen protecting against harsh winds.
But when placing a windscreen, you must be careful with its height because some combinations of the helmet, rider, and windscreen height can increase wind noise called wind buffeting. The right size & height will make it a better wind deflector altogether.
6. Keep the Visor Closed
The helmet visor is the clear, front part of the helmet, which acts as a shield to protect your face when you are on the bike. It is movable and must be closed to make sure your eyes are protected from debris, and in case of an impact, your face remains untouched.
However, apart from this, there is one more thing the visor can help with – and that is the noise. Keeping the visor open while riding the motorcycle can result in air entering the helmet and circulating around your head.
While this might seem obvious, I mention it because when I use my windshield I sometimes FORGET to close my visor. *face-palm*
However, keeping it closed (even with the windshield) will not limit the wind to travel inside and help you avoid unwanted noise caused by wind and vibration.
7. Get a Scarf or Balaclava
This is the most cost-friendly and, surprisingly, quite effective option to help cancel out wind noise when riding a bike. You can either wrap a scarf tightly around your neck or wear a balaclava to cover your head and neck – and tuck it in your helmet.
Wearing a covering such as a scarf or balaclava will help reduce the air entering your helmet, which eventually will reduce the vibration and noise you will make.
The science behind this is that anything covering your helmet from the bottom will decrease the amount of entering the helmet – and this will eventually reduce the noise you hear because of the wind and vibration.
8. Buy a Helmet Skirt or Better Chin Curtain
There are accessories specifically built for helmets. Often, they are meant to keep you warm or dust out of your helmet, but they also serve as a potential effective solution to reduce the wind that reach inside your helmet. They are like a lightweight wind blocker.
However, I’d do some research here & opt for a chin curtain over a helmet skirt as the skirts I’ve seen do not have great reviews – particularly for wind helmet noises.
Ride Safe and Comfortable
Riding safely and comfortably is every motorist’s top priority – however, you can not guarantee your safety while riding a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. A helmet is the essential safety gear for motorcycle riders to have with them at all times.
However, we do agree that helmets can be noisy and uncomfortable at times, because of which most motorists tend to avoid wearing one. This is why we hope these tricks will help you overcome this problem to have a comfortable motorcycle riding experience without having to risk your safety!