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India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world and consequently it has the highest rate of road accidents that involve two-wheelers. One of the most basic and proven ways to reduce the number of incidents is by the use of helmets.
A helmet is one of the most essential safety equipment used while riding a motorcycle. Most states in the country have already passed regulations making it mandatory for riders to wear helmets while riding. Few states have also gone a step further by making it mandatory for pillion riders to wear helmets.
However, wearing a helmet just for the sake of it doesn't help. There are a lot of factors which need to be considered while riding with a helmet. It is important to make sure that the helmet fits the rider correctly, to ensure that the helmet is strapped on tight. A loose fitting or an un-strapped helmet might easily detach itself, failing to protect you in case of a fall.
Helmets come in a range of different options, including types, colours, graphics, designs, and levels of safety. However, there are basically three different types of helmets: Full-face, Modular, and Open-face.
Full-face helmets, as the name clearly indicates, cover the entire head; back to front. Full-face helmets are the safest in comparison to the other types. Most of the best helmet brands in the world offer full-face helmets, although the overall styling and design may vary between them.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are open-face helmets. These, again as the name suggests, cover just the head, leaving the entire face of the rider exposed without any protection. They offer better cooling while providing the best visibility, however, they also offer the least amount of protection when compared to the other types of helmets.
Between the full-face and open-face helmets is the modular type. They offer the best of both worlds, with a flip option which converts them to either full or open-face at the press of a button.
But, how do you know if the helmet you have selected will protect you in case of an incident. All helmets are usually made up of plastic, reinforced fibreglass and are covered with polystyrene foam on the inside. The more expensive helmets also get a layer of kevlar or carbon-fibre which offers better protection while weighing lesser.
There are multiple brands of helmets available in the Indian market. Some of the best helmets in India are from brands such as Steelbird, Vega, LS2, HJC, SMK, Bell, Shoei, and AGV to name a few. All of them offer all the three main types of helmet, while also offering unique designs, graphics, colours and safety standards. Prices for these helmets start from as low as Rs 1,000 and go up all the way to Rs 50,000, sometimes even more.
The best helmets in the country are designed to protect the rider just once. But is that sufficient? Hence, it is always best for the rider to have a two wheeler insurance policy that makes sure the rider and the motorbike are protected during a mishap or an accident. There are various companies in India offering two wheeler insurance policies with a host of features like hassle free renewals, renewal of expired policies, third party liability, long term insurance etc.
But you can rest assured that most of the helmets, before being sold, pass through a strict set of standard guidelines. India has its own set of guidelines for helmets, set up by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Those helmets which comply with the above standards will get an 'ISI' certification sticker, usually seen on the back of the helmet. There are also other helmet brands with international standards certification such as DOT & ECE, available in the Indian market. So, always make sure to strap-on your helmet and ride safe!