Get on with modern motorcycle equipment: Cooling helmets

by Access Legal

Get on with modern motorcycle equipment: Cooling helmets


Each year hundreds of motorcyclists suffer head injuries as a result of road traffic accidents.

In 2008 there were 21,000 motorcycle user casualties, with 5,556 serious injuries and 493 deaths. In 2009 there were 20,703 motorcycle user casualties, with 5,350 serious injuries and 472 deaths.

Head and brain injuries are common in motorbike accidents and any attempt to minimise the risk is positive.

Cooling motorcycle helmets

A team at Sussex University's Innovation Centre has developed the ThermaHelm™, a helmet which upon impact mixes water with ammonium nitrate, cooling the brain and absorbing heat from the head.

The cooling process lasts up to 45 minutes, meaning the helmet can remain in place without other injuries being disturbed while increasing the victim's chances of survival.

The Thermahelm™ has been shortlisted for the Best of British Innovation awards and the team has now developed an ICE System (Internal Cooling/Extraction), which gives riders the luxury of instant head cooling at the push of a button.

The Department of Transport report Protective Helmets: Motorcycle, Pedalcycle and Human Head Tolerance states that 20% of riders admitted to hospital suffered a head injury, 16% sustained a head injury of AIS 2-4 (Abbreviated Injury Scale), suggesting that improvements to helmets could offer worthwhile injury savings.

Of the 253 head/neck injury cases chosen for collaborative analysis, 73% of casualties had leg injuries, 67% head injuries, 57% thorax injuries, and 27% neck injuries. Helmet damage was evenly distributed around the helmet apart from the crown, where impacts were significantly less frequent at a tenth of those experienced elsewhere. Head and brain injuries were mostly attributed to an indirect force (58%), followed by a direct force (31%) and specifically to an indirect force directly opposite (11%).

Associate and Motorcycle Personal Injury team leader Simon Richards said: "A review of studies concluded that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by around 69% and death by around 42%. Whilst we don't endorse any particular motorcycle helmet, we actively encourage development to improve rider safety."

Remember to always ensure your helmet is an approved safety helmet and replace it after five years. You should also replace your helmet if it's been involved in a crash, been dropped, or exposed to solvents.

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