HASTINGS, Neb. - When the news contains the report of a motorcycle accident, attention naturally turns to the helmet. In Nebraska, helmets are required and they must be Department of Transportation approved. In the case of a fatal accident in Grand Island this week, the helmet used was not an approved model. It could have been a factor in the head injuries received by the cyclist, according to Captain Jim Duering of the Grand Island Police Department.
"The way that the helmet came apart and did nothing to absorb the impact definitely contributed to those injuries," said Duering.
Brian Aarrants at Hastings Honda says he will sell only approved helmets. Most have three layers of protection to them. He also points out that once a helmet has been subjected to any hard contact, it has to be replaced.
"We get people all the time who come in with helmets that have been through accident after accident, maybe dropped on the floor, skidded," said Arrants. "And that's probably the one thing that is the most worrisome for me, because that helmet, I know, is not going to protect them."
One other fact Captain Duering points out is that not wearing a legal helmet, or any helmet for that matter, is a primary offense. So, you can get pulled over just for that and if you do, you may be there a while.
"We're not going to allow you to leave the scene until you have a proper helmet," said Duering. That means the rider will have to call for someone to either bring them a helmet, or give them a ride.
Arrants reminds cyclist that despite their confidence in riding skills, there are plenty of reasons to wear an approved helmet.
"I protect myself against the people that are texting and driving, the people that aren't paying attention to what they're doing, that are reaching down to pick something off their floor," said Arrants. "That's what i'm protecting myself from."
In addition to replacing damaged helmets, riders should also be mindful of replacing their helmets at least every five years.