Use your head to save it

Seasoned rider and Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council member David Golightly shows why you should use your head to save it.

02 Mar 2017

Stay safer with a SHARP helmet

My phone rings on my desk, I see it’s Tim* calling. He has been a client and fellow rider for many years. With a sinking feeling I answer.  Tim says “Dave, you won’t believe this, but I’ve just crashed the bike”.

I commiserate and then ask to speak to his wife Judith, who comes on the line sighing, “sorry Dave, he’s rung you again hasn’t he?”

She’s apologising. This isn’t the first time Tim has called – he’s told me about the crash three times in less than two weeks. His bike is nearly out of the shop.

I can’t say much except to pass on my best wishes for a full recovery.

Tim took a nasty hit to the back of his head when he came off the bike more than a month ago

It wasn’t at high speed, but the brain is very fragile and the force of it hitting the inside of his skull caused this damage. As we replaced the helmet under our policy I was able to examine it. It was a full face helmet of a popular brand sold here in most shops. It was probably around 10 years old. There was barely a mark where it hit the ground.

Further research showed that particular model only has three stars under the SHARP system. That’s pretty average since the highest rating is five stars. Surprisingly, very few of the most expensive helmets sold here make that grade.

I’m guessing it didn’t help that the helmet was ten years old. Helmets break down from exposure to sunlight over the years. I don’t know whether a newer, five star helmet would have saved Tim’s memory, but it wouldn’t have made it any worse, that’s for sure.   


David Golightly holding the winning helmet entry from the Kickstart competition.

Stand out from the pack and keep your head 

At Christchurch’s last Kickstart event we ran a competition for the 800-odd riders who came along. The rider who had ridden to the show in the oldest, roughest helmet got a beautiful new five star full-face helmet to head home in.

Well, we were nearly killed in the rush. The number of people who rushed to claim the prize was shocking, and even worse was the number of unsafe and downright dangerous helmets that riders were using.

The winning (though winning is not the right word) helmet had no stickers or labels to show it conformed to any standards. Who knows how old it was or what’s happened to it over the years.

Needless to say, the new owner was very happy. Hopefully his family will never experience the kind of trauma Tim’s crash caused.

So use your head and change that old helmet now. Trust me, it’s too late when you’re flying through the air heading for the ground.

David Golightly.

*Name has been changed