Regional Victorian motorcyclists have been urged to take advantage of a new helmet rating system that the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) says can save lives. The five-star rating program called the Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets (CRASH), provides motorcyclists with independent information on motorcycle helmets' safety and comfort characteristics.
TAC Chief Executive Officer Janet Dore said the CRASH website, which is part-funded by the TAC, should be the first place to go for Victorians purchasing a motorcycle helmet.
"Every year Victoria's road trauma statistics tell us how susceptible motorcyclists are to death and serious injury in the event of an accident," Ms Dore said.
"Riders don't have crumple zones and airbags to protect them from impact so it is vital that any safety gear they do have is of the highest possible quality.
"That's what the CRASH program is all about: giving riders the information they need to choose the best head protection available. It is a decision that could save their life."
In 2012, motorcyclists accounted for just one per cent of the total kilometres travelled in Victoria yet they made up 15 per cent of road fatalities and 15 per cent of claims involving acute hospitalisation.
CRASH rates helmets for their ability to protect the wearer's head in a crash and how comfortable they are to wear, providing a star rating up to five for each category.
Each rated helmet has undergone rigorous testing to simulate the types of impact experienced in real crash scenarios. The helmets are evaluated in terms of their ability to reduce impact to the head, maintain their structural integrity, and ensure the chin strap is still working properly after the test.
"In the event of a severe impact, the wearer of a one-star helmet is two and a half times more likely to experience head and brain injuries than one wearing a five star-rated helmet," Ms Dore said.
"Motorcyclists must choose a helmet that provides the highest available level of protection and make sure it is used correctly every time."
Anyone shopping for a motorcycle helmet should visit www.crash.org.au
Encouraging motorcyclists to make greater use of motorcycle safety technology and protective clothing is a key goal of the Victorian Government's Road Safety Strategy. 2013-2022. To find out more, visit roadsafety.vic.gov.au.