By Mushtaq Quaraishi, Daniel Etchells, Natasha David-Hilton and Katie Ollier
Wacky motorcyclists may no longer be able to express themselves through their helmets after a Manchester-based insurance company raised concerns over their safety yesterday.
Unusual looking helmets can have lifelike images imprinted on them such as brains, watermelons, bowling balls and even heads.
Swinton Bikes Insurance claimed that the eye-catching helmets may not meet safety standards compared with traditional styles and could endanger people’s lives.
Head of Swinton Bikes, Antony Aronin, said: “It is imperative for a biker to protect their head; it is the most delicate part of the body in the event of an accident.
“While these designs are fun to look at, they also need to protect the head properly in the event of an accident.”
The zany helmets received backing from a Manchester Honda motorbike dealer, Hunts Motorbikes of Burnage.
The company’s Parts and Accessories Expert, Neil Hodgkinson, said: “I definitely think there is a market for wacky helmet designs. Girls will tend to go for it for more than guys – they tend to go for more sensible styles.
“I think they will sell quite well and I would like to see them.”
Swinton bikes surveyed 1200 online customers and found that 16% had a wacky helmet designed for special occasions.
However, Mr Hodgkinson added: “In today’s age people are buying plain helmets. Our best seller has been a white helmet because it’s good for both price and safety.
“We wouldn’t stock these sorts of helmets unless they passed the appropriate safety regulations.”
The Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) regulates and assesses all makes and models of helmets and gives approved ratings.
Swinton Bikes are urging motorcyclists to check for the fully approved rating.
William Wald, salesman at Manchester-based motorbike equipment retailer Hein Gericke UK, said: “Safety has got to be paramount in all of this.”