Helmet colors - does it matter? - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Helmet colors - does it matter?

Hi all,

Looking for some thoughts/opinions on helmet color/saftey.

I just bought a brand new Shoei rf-1100. So far, great helmet.

Color is high gloss black. I read online that riders with white helmets reduce their chances of accident by 24%. This is attribuited to being more visable.

After reading these stats, i'm somewhat concerned.

What are everyones experiences with a black helmet vs some other lighter color? Did you feel like you were more at risk of an accident? Have more close calls, etc? Or am I just being paranoid?

Thanks all!

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post #2 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 10:47 AM
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I'd be kinda surprised if just the color of a helmet would make that much of a difference, but I don't have any first-hand experience to back that up - always worn a silver/grey/black combination.

Funny thing about statistics is that you don't always know what the real relationship of the data is. Maybe wearing a white helmet makes you more visible and that's why there are less accidents with white, or maybe it's because white helmets are only worn by very cautious riders on small CC motorcycles that never ride aggressively (brings images of a little old guy putting around on his 250cc very cautiously with his plain white helmet on) and the guys with flashy multi-colored helmets are more of risk takers.

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post #3 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 10:54 AM
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ultimately, i think you're just being paranoid. reason: YOU have to ride defensively. period. be proactive in letting people know you're there. if you are worried that people wont see you, throw on a neon vest. if that doesnt help, swap out your helmet for a white or neon helmet. there's only so much you can do though when it comes to idiots and if they refuse to be aware of their surroundings when they make split second decisions, nothing you can do but ride DEFENSIVELY.

so it comes down to personal preference and personal experience. depends on the people you have around you and what your daily riding experience is like.

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post #4 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankly View Post
I'd be kinda surprised if just the color of a helmet would make that much of a difference, but I don't have any first-hand experience to back that up - always worn a silver/grey/black combination.

Funny thing about statistics is that you don't always know what the real relationship of the data is. Maybe wearing a white helmet makes you more visible and that's why there are less accidents with white, or maybe it's because white helmets are only worn by very cautious riders on small CC motorcycles that never ride aggressively (brings images of a little old guy putting around on his 250cc very cautiously with his plain white helmet on) and the guys with flashy multi-colored helmets are more of risk takers.
The truth of the statistic is probably somewhere between a) being more visible and b) making safety conscious choices.

Personally I wear a white helmet and ride by the ATGATT philosophy. I ride a niner and sometimes ride like an idiot but usually when no one is around... for the most part I am paranoid in traffic and ride defensively.

The only time where the visibility might have been improved by the color of my helmet was a couple of weeks ago when I was riding with my buddy (me 919 white helmet, him Vulcan nomad black helmet) and someone nearly crashed into him shortly after I had passed by the road from which they were turning. They may have been staring the "nerdy" biker in the white helmet when they almost crashed into the "dude" with the black one... As long as they see me I'm ok with what they think of me!

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post #5 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 12:07 PM
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I've always liked Red bikes and helmets, and put running lights on the rear turn signals. But, It makes me feel better, and the nut cakes are still roaming the earth!

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post #6 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 12:12 PM
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More visibility is not a bad idea. Just don't stake your life on it.

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post #7 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 01:06 PM
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At a safety course, we were told that solid colours are more visible, whether its solid black, pink, white, etc.
As others have said, buy what you want, just ride defensively. Sometimes even looking like a lit up Christmas tree is not going to make some idiot see you, IMO.

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post #8 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 01:16 PM
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yup agreed with others... get what you want... because in the end its up to you not to get hit by cagers.

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post #9 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 01:42 PM
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I've read the same study which shows white helmets are under-represented in moto-crashes.

Next time you're on a group ride, see which helmets "pop" out of the group.

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post #10 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 01:49 PM
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White will be cooler than black from a temperature standpoint.

I read years ago an insurance study about the color of vehicles. Gray or dark colors didn't do as well from an accident rate point of view. Supposedly due to blending in with the color of asphalt, which happens to be the color of my 919.

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post #11 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HondaJim View Post
White will be cooler than black from a temperature standpoint.

I read years ago an insurance study about the color of vehicles. Gray or dark colors didn't do as well from an accident rate point of view. Supposedly due to blending in with the color of asphalt, which happens to be the color of my 919.

I agree with this statement on car color, especially at dawn and dusk. After thinking about it, I think I notice light colored helmets sooner, I personally have a white helmet but my choice was made to try for cooler temps.

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post #12 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 02:53 PM
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white, silver, black, gray, navy. all lost in a good rain. color isn't the be-all, but anything that helps get attention, might help. My red helmet looks "cooler" than my yellow. but the yellow stands out more.

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post #13 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 03:01 PM
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I wear a white Arai, as I heard some time back that people tend to key on white helmets quicker because they automatically think "COP!"... don't know if that's true, but it can't hurt...
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post #14 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 03:19 PM
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lol if i saw someone on a sport touring bike with that helmet id immediately think COP

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post #15 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 04:03 PM
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Believe it or not, any cop I've seen on a cop bike in NJ was wearing a half helmet, even State troopers on Rt. 80.

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post #16 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 04:20 PM
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never have seen a cop in a full face myself, or any other kind of armor, which I've always found odd... I'm all about being visible; I can't hardly imagine a white helmet being more visible than a Flo Yellow, but that's what they say...

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post #17 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
white, silver, black, gray, navy. all lost in a good rain.
Rain? What's that? Oh, yes...I forgot not everyone lives in the desert. Poor saps...

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post #18 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 04:39 PM
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Well, the bit about white helmets never really crossed my mind, but good to know! Here's my lid, Shark RSI D-Tone

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post #19 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HondaJim View Post
White will be cooler than black from a temperature standpoint.
On the surface. Inside the helmet, the temperature differential doesn't show up.

You have too much insulation between you and the shell.

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post #20 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the article I read:

Motorcycle rider conspicuity and crash related injury: case-control study -- Wells et al. 328 (7444): 857 -- BMJ

No need to read the entire thing, the abstract is more than enough.

What does everyone think?

Saturday, I had a near miss (wearing a red helmet). While riding, a car turned straight into my lane of traffic. The driver almost pinned me between the wall and the raised center divider.

Happened so fast, all I could do was hit my horn. Luckily I was able to squeeze between the car and the center divider and quickly get away.

Would a different color helmet have made myself visable to the driver? Got me wondering, would a different color helmet have helped the driver see me?

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post #21 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 05:30 PM
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Since I have a little bit of experience driving a cage, from those odd times when I'm not on a bike, I can say ...for myself if not everybody...I don't think I've ever keyed up on a motorcyclist because of helmet color. I like my solid shiny black helmet with one of Cmurphy's stickers on the back!

Well, fire the engines! Spur this iron space-pony on!

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post #22 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 05:41 PM
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Pretty good article...

10 Hi Visibility Tips

Says a white helmet will help among other things, many of which are riding strategies, such as lane positioning and movement across a driver's line of sight.

Great thread. Ride safe

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post #23 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 05:45 PM
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I always ride under the theory that no other drivers see me and I must ride accordingly.
I've got a red bike, a bright green & yellow helmet, a jacket with reflective strips and my high beam on during the day and none of it seems to help, people still try to pull out or turn in front of me.

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post #24 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousmike View Post
On the surface. Inside the helmet, the temperature differential doesn't show up.

You have too much insulation between you and the shell.
No you don't. Go outside on a bright sunny day and lay your hand on a black truck and then a white truck. The minimal amount of insulation won't stop the amount of heat absorption the different colors have to that very insulation you speak of.

After two helmets of the same color have been in the sun for an hour at lunch guess which one has the higher temps inside as well as outside?

FYI, I wear a black helmet. So I'm not coming from that angle.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #25 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HondaJim View Post
No you don't. Go outside on a bright sunny day and lay your hand on a black truck and then a white truck. The minimal amount of insulation won't stop the amount of heat absorption the different colors have to that very insulation you speak of.

After two helmets of the same color have been in the sun for an hour at lunch guess which one has the higher temps inside as well as outside?

FYI, I wear a black helmet. So I'm not coming from that angle.
+1, my thoughts exactly.

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post #26 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marylandmike View Post
Pretty good article...

10 Hi Visibility Tips

Says a white helmet will help among other things, many of which are riding strategies, such as lane positioning and movement across a driver's line of sight.

Great thread. Ride safe
My visibility rating is 17 out of 10, what's yours?

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post #27 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 07:44 PM
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spongebob-head.jpg you could wear this,you'll get noticed,trust me

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post #28 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HondaJim View Post
Go outside on a bright sunny day and lay your hand on a black truck and then a white truck.
Helmets aren't trucks. But, I will guarantee you that if you do this in the summer in Las Vegas, you WILL be able to tell which truck is hotter. It's not even close....the white one may burn your hand, but, the black one will burn it more.

I do think bright helmets help with visibility. I also believe the studies that show light modulation (front or rear) helps with visibility. I have constant modulation in the front, and braking modulation in the rear.

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post #29 of 81 Old 07-07-2010, 08:19 PM
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+1, my thoughts exactly.
Both of you are entitled to your wrong opinions.

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post #30 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 05:49 AM
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I wear a white helmet and a hi-vis yellow jacket when riding my 919. I think I'm regularly mistaken for a cop...cars slowing as I approach from the rear and stuff like that. In a way, wearing hi-vis gear is a courtesy to motorists since they don't want to kill you. Give them the best chance to see you. The down side is that I sure feel dorky sometimes. I would rather wear "cooler" looking gear, but at 57 I'm increasingly concerned about getting hurt. If only hi-vis gear worked on deer. I saw a cruiser rider with a day-glo pink full face helmet and full gear leaving the Houston cycle show 2 yrs ago. That was the the most visible helmet ever! Any helmet with stripes and colors is pretty much invisible to motorists except at a very close distance.

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post #31 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmb View Post
Believe it or not, any cop I've seen on a cop bike in NJ was wearing a half helmet, even State troopers on Rt. 80.
and NO gear...except for the horse boots,lol

'04 Honda 919, Candy apple red met., 17/44t sprockets,f-16 windscreen,delkevic ss exhaust,Tharbars,givi engine bars, billet alum. led turns w/ running lights,red adj.levers from china, bar end mirrors,grip heaters,adj. foot peg brackets,adj. bar risers,dunlop Q2(that are better than your pp 2ct,lol)bike wired for gps and phone charger
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post #32 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 08:09 AM
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Ask a Color Scientist!


I am shopping for a new motorcycle helmet and want to know the color's that would keep my head cooler in the sun. Where do colors such as grey or silver fit in as far as reflecting light/heat and staying cooler? (626)
The coolest (temperature wise) will be white because it reflects all the light. A good shiny silver would probably be close. Black will be the hottest and gray will be in between (probably hotter than silver). For colors, it is hard to say because the color might not necessarily correlate perfectly with heat absorption. However, they will all be hotter than white. Red, for example is nearly as hot as black because it absorbs a lot of energy (all the blue and green light and only reflects the red).

If you really want to keep your head cool ... go with white



FYI


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post #33 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 09:11 AM
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You're ignoring the solid inch of insulation between the paint and your head.

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post #34 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 09:17 AM
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What color is the insulation? Mine is painted black on the inside.

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post #35 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 10:18 AM
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Are most of the people who wear white/brightly colored helmets the safety oriented type - therefore less likely to get in an accident to begin with? Maybe most of the reckless ones are more inclined to wear black/graphics...

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post #36 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 10:22 AM
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Well for what it is worth I haven't crashed in either of these




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post #37 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 10:37 AM
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I do lover that hi-viz Scorpion.

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post #38 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousmike View Post
You're ignoring the solid inch of insulation between the paint and your head.
It's really not a hard test. Leave a black and a white helmet in the sun and then put both on back to back. See which one feels hotter.

Insulation simply resists the flow of heat, but it doesn't stop it. If so everybody would have 1" of insulation on their house and just enough AC to offset internal heat gain.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #39 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 11:25 AM
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+1 on the Scorpion Neon helmet. There's a 50% off sale on exo-700s here. Scorpion EXO-700 Helmets from $108.95 - SportbikeTrackGear.com

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post #40 of 81 Old 07-08-2010, 11:43 AM
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as a tractor/trailer driver,i see people in cages do just about anything EXCEPT what their supposed to be doing(paying attention),so you gotta wonder, when they hit a bike or pedestrian or kids walking on the shoulder of the road,is it because the victims wer'nt wearing the right brightly coloured gear, or maybe,just maybe the driver was careless for just a split second....long enough to take a life. whatever saftey measures you take with yourself and your bike are up to your own peace of mind, but above all...watch out for the drivers who take their eyes off the road for just a split second.

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