The helmet – to remove it or not?!

This is a question I have been thinking about a lot since I attended a first aid course last autumn. The opinion seems to differ between countries, which is confusing.

Previously, when I have attended first aid courses in Sweden, the instructions have been clear about the priority – if the person is not breathing, remove the helmet. Naturally, removing the helmet is a tricky business and it has to be done with great care of the neck and spine, but there is a special procedure to do it safely, preferably by two people. However, if you can’t breathe you die, so helmet off to start mouth to mouth and chest compression was the instruction.

At the first aid course last autumn, here in Spain, the teacher got a bit upset when I told her about what I’d previously learned. She claimed that it was too risky for the spine and that mouth to mouth could be done through the visor gap (apparently she didn’t know how a helmet fits the head) or simply just do the compressions. She also said that in Japan mouth to mouth is not done at all, only chest compressions. Later, when I checked info with friends in Sweden, that are both bikers and medical doctors, the information was clear – helmet off, but do it safely. So, apparently this is something that is thought of differently in different countries. I find it a bit surprising that there aren’t standardised European guidelines about this.

When riding behind a Tele Pizza scooter delivery the other day I could read a sticker on his healmet saying “in case of an accident, don’t remove helmet”. So it might be the case that I now live in a country where I, in case of an accident, will die with my spine intact and with my helmet on. Maybe this is to prevent people ripping the helmet off at first chance, but I would prefer education to prohibition.

Another matter in case of an emergency is how to keep personal information. Since I often ride alone, I need ways to store information that can be found by, for example, medical staff. Before, I have made cards with phone numbers etc, which I put in my wallet or in my bag, but this can be difficult for others to find. Now one solution was presented by the Swedish bikers union, SMC. They’ve sent ICE medical cards to their members. These cards can be put inbetween the shell and the padding of the helmet and are combined with a sticker saying “medical card in helmet”. All neat and nice, when eventually the helmet is removed.

In addition, I found something that might be more useful outside Sweden, U-tag ICE. It is an ID tag to put around your neck and the beauty with it is the USB storage that you can fill with the information you want and it works in 7 different languages. Some initial information can also be engraved on the tag and – this is super clever – documents can be uploaded and encrypted so it can be used to store copies of driver’s licence, insurance, etc. The U-tag also comes with stickers which inform that ICE can be found on the rider.

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4 thoughts on “The helmet – to remove it or not?!”

  1. Mabye on a open or a flip up helmet its possible
    But on my HLR cours i went on “work” we was told tilting the head backwards to open for air but then you will be moving the neck or spine even with the helmet on? its a bit tricky how to do.

    1. You sur need to know what you are doing, that is for sure! Next year is time for a new healmet so options will be investigated.

  2. Have you seen these?

    About the helmet I have 2 Arais and they have a system that help to remove it. The helmet has 2 strips and when you pull the interiors of the helmet takes out in a easy way, wich help a lot to remove the helmet without harming the spine.

    A few weeks ago a friend had an accident. The doctor had no idea how to remove the helmet and we have to help. She didn´t know how the D-ring fastener works… So I belive that now you live in a country that you could die with you an intact spine unless you find that doctor, in that case you will die with your spine broken…
    Fortunatly there are lots of bikers in spain who know what to do in case of accident.

    I hope to see you soon in a desmocañas so you can show us you new bike.

    P.S. my friend is OK, no injuries in the accident 😉

    1. I’m glad that your friends is OK because so much can happen and life is fragile. Unfortunately Arai helmets don’t fit my head very well, but I’ll keep an eye out for an helmet like that from shoei.
      I had not seen the bracelet, but it looks like it has similar functions to the UTAG, good stuff!!
      I might or might not go for a desmocaña with the Kawa, I might walk there ;P Anyway, I should pay a visit soon, thank you for looking out for me!