Some Interesting Things About Helmets

In 1955 or so, when I was small, and the trees were tall, I remembered my uncles and neighbors riding huge, big motorcycles. Bikes such as Norton, B.S.A, Ducati, Vulcan and of course the famous Triumph were the norm of the day.

Not to be forgotten also was Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Bridgestone were yet to be seen. Scooters such as Lambretta and Vespa were still not around then.

The Honda 50 cc came much later under the patronage of Boon Siew Motors, a company set up in the island of Pulau Pinang.

Did my uncles and neighbors wear helmets?

If you expect the answer to be “no”, you are indeed sadly mistaken. Through there was no law requiring motorcyclists wearing helmets then, these motorcycle riders of such huge bikes chose to wear helmets as safety precautions.

Likewise knee high boots and leather gloves. Even goggles were the norm of the day. Just envisage, if you could, a motorcycle rider in such an attire. As the saying goes, “that’s the way it is”.

Just compare it with the motorcycles of today. What a world of difference! The recent “Helmet exchange campaign” launched by the government recently, gave away in exchange, some 135,000 Sirim approved helmets to motorcyclists.

Will it achieve its aim?

Going one step further, just go into the kampung or even the outskirts of towns today, you’ll be surprised to see the number of motorcyclists riding motorcycles without helmets.

Are the above people unaware that there’s law in Malaysia, for many years now, requires one to don a helmet while riding a motorcycle?

I guess not.

Most youths dislike wearing helmets. The main reason, it’s my assumption only, is that wearing a helmet ruffles their hair.

In Bahasa Malaysia, there is a famous saying “style mahu, mati tidak apa”. Literally translated it means, nothing else matters as long as we look handsome.

Just to remind you, especially motorcyclists, the Road Transport Act 1978, Section 119 (2), reiterates, not wearing a helmet carries a RM100 fine.

Who are those exempted from wearing a helmet while using a motorcycle?

As according to my knowledge, 2 categories of people need not wear helmets.

i) Those who are Sikhs (who wear turbans).

ii) The Hajis (religious persons) because they don kopiah or religious caps.

Sorry to say, other motorcyclists, it is compulsory for you to wear helmets.

In what circumstances, can you as a motorcyclists be stopped and action be taken against you?

As earlier explained, not wearing a helmet itself!

The second is not tying or buckling up your helmet properly. With straps flying around, represents an offense too.

The third is do not wear a half helmet. Malaysia has just banned the use of such helmets. Unlike in the USA, where half helmets are mostly used by ladies and policemen and is extremely popular down there, up here, unfortunately, it is something else.

My previous comment on the subject above, has even lead a well known half helmet company from the USA writing in to this blog, albeit politely to inform us the popularity of the half helmet in that country.

I wish to extend my sincere apologies made earlier. No offence is intended.

Even though most motorcyclists have negative aspects or opinion about helmets, that they ruffle up our hair and looks, it’s a cumbersome thing to bring around and so forth, let’s look at it this way.

A helmet can eventually be the one item that could save our lives one day. With this positive thought in mind, I recommend each and every motorcyclists, wear you helmets for your own safety. Do not leave home without it!