Do NOT remove helmet unless you have been trained. Do not risk paralysis.
A full-faced helmet should only be removed if the injured rider is not able to breathe and the helmet is preventing access to the airway.
In all other circumstances the helmet should remain in place with chin strap undone. Monitor the casualty’s breathing closely and be ready to remove if airway or breathing are compromised.
How to remove a helmet if the motorcycle crash victim’s airways need stabilization.*This video is for educational purpose only and is not official training. Do not attempt to remove a helmet without official training.
Motorcycle helmets should only be removed if you need to access the person’s airway. If the person is conscious, then you can help them by undoing their neck strap making it easier for them to breathe.
It is their decision if they wish to fully remove their helmet but you can encourage them to leave their helmet in place until medical aid arrives.
If the person is unconscious, you can undo their neck strap and any tight clothing, scarves or ties around their neck.
Removing the helmet of someone who is unconscious is a two person job and should only be attempted if absolutely necessary to ensure their airway is clear. Trying to remove someone’s helmet on your own could cause more damage and worsen their injuries.
What you can do at the scene of the motorcycle crash:
- Call emergency services 911 as soon as possible
- Check it’s safe to approach the injured person – traffic, powerlines, fire.
- Check if the casualty is conscious or unconscious – use visual, verbal, and touch techniques
- Look, listen & feel for normal breathing.
- If airway is obstructed or the casualty is not breathing normally, roll onto back, remove full face helmet and commence CPR
- Begin with 30 chest compressions then 2 breaths (30:2)
You must replace a motorcycle helmet after any crash.
Even a minor motorcycle crash can cause serious, yet invisible, damage to a motorcycle helmet. It is important to discard a helmet if it has been involved in a wreck. Small dents and minor scratches fail to reflect interior issues with the inner protective padding.
According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, if your head struck anything at all during a motorcycle accident, chances are that the helmet absorbed at least some impact shock. This can have a serious impact on the effectiveness of the helmet in the event of another accident, which is why it should be replaced.
Most helmet manufacturers are willing to inspect a damaged helmet and make repairs if necessary, but when in doubt, it is typically best to simply buy a new one.
The same applies if a helmet is dropped from a major height or from the back of a fast-moving vehicle. Chances are that the interior or the outer shell may have sustained some damage and it should be replaced to be on the safe side.