Why Some Motorcycle Riders Don’t Wear Helmets? (Explained!)

Motorcycle rider not wearing helmet

Helmets are a must when you go for a motorcycle ride. It’s the bare minimum gear.

Yet, many riders don’t wear helmets. Not for lack of awareness. But by choice.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reported around 23% of motorcycle riders don’t wear helmets in the US.

Furthermore, the use of DOT-compliant helmets was only 69% (Source).

The motorcyclists who don’t wear helmets have their own justifications and reasons (excuses might be the right word).

Let’s dive into them.

Reasons why some riders won’t wear helmets

A helmet placed on the motorcycle

When you are set on something, excuses pop up to justify it.

And for riders not wearing helmets, there are many excuses. The reasons they have are many, here are the main ones:

#1. Hair-style problems

A man combing his hair and hairstyling

I am not proud to admit, but hairstyle is the reason I skipped wearing helmets many times.

I know, I know. It’s silly and the risk is too huge.

But tell that to my 24-year-old self who was too obsessed with his hair.

And that’s not just me.

Many riders often skip wearing helmets purely because they don’t want to mess up their hairstyle.

A guy with bad spike hair
My spikey hair is more important than helmet and life

It doesn’t end there.

A few riders feel their hair fall problem is caused by wearing the helmet. And their only solution? Not to wear a helmet!

They couldn’t even think of any skull cap or a balaclava to wear beneath the helmet.

Whatever the thought process may be, many riders don’t and won’t wear helmets because of hairstyle and hair fall problems.

#2. Helmets are uncomfortable and heavy

A woman rider removing a heavy helmet from her head

Not all helmets fit all riders.

The rider-to-helmet fit is a thing. And if not, the helmet you wear going to be heavy, annoying, and uncomfortable.

That’s why one should prefer buying a helmet offline rather than an online purchase. Just because the helmet looks good on the website doesn’t mean it fits your big dumb head. 😉

Also, given a choice, go for lightweight helmets. For short rides, the helmet weight doesn’t mean much. But for long rides, heavy helmets are a pain.

Which brings us to our next point.

#3. Neck pain

A man holding the back of his neck with pain

Poor helmets when used for long periods cause neck pain.

Although I have been lucky when it comes to helmet-induced neck pain, there were instances when my neck felt stiff after a long ride.

And it’s no wonder many riders avoid wearing helmets because of such neck pain.

I know. Pain in the neck is far better than no neck!

Unfortunately, motorcycle riders live in the moment far too much. Neck pain at the moment seems a bigger issue.

And changing the helmets, even more unfortunate, never crosses their minds.

#4. It’s too hot and sweaty

A man wearing a helmet on a hot and sunny day

However great a helmet is, on a bright sunny day, it is going to feel sweaty.

Of course, that’s not an excuse to not wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle.

Riders do it. Despite knowing they shouldn’t.

This reason for not wearing helmets is especially common in tropical and sub-tropical countries like India, Thailand, etc.

The heat is too much. And helmets make the rider too sweaty.

Counterpoint. Most modern helmets have good ventilation. And are not as sweaty as these people complain to be.

Also, if sweating is such an issue, there are open helmets and three-quarter helmets available. I don’t recommend them. But these helmets are any day better than no helmets.

#5. Riding for a short distance

A man riding his motorcycle on road without wearing helmet

This is a case of negligence over a legible reason.

Many motorcycle riders skip wearing the helmet if it is for a short distance.

Going to a local bar? No need for a helmet, it’s only 2 miles away.

It’s careless and reckless.

But who is gonna tell these reckless riders, even within those 2 miles there is a risk of crashing or an accident?

Enough to say, this is one of the dumb reasons to not wear a helmet.

#6. Freedom of riding

A woman riding motorcycle on road without wearing helmet

The gush of wind when you ride!

Motorcycle riding is freedom.

And as Keanu says “It’s the vibration, the wind, the sound. It’s a great place to think, to feel, to get away.”

The only problem?

Few riders take this to an extreme by discarding helmets. For them, helmets intrude on their freedom. The gush of wind is no longer on their face (facepalm).

Hey, I am just saying what few people think out there about helmets.

Don’t shoot the messenger.

Yeah. It is silly. Even more when you consider the risk of not wearing a helmet. A possible accident, injury, and worse – a life at stake.

#7. Other lame reasons

A couple riding motorcycle on road without wearing helmet

The list doesn’t end. There are many more reasons why these few riders don’t wear helmets.

And all of them are feeble and flimsy when weighed against the risk of a crash and injury.

Still, here are a few other reasons these helmet-avoidant riders have:

  • Helmets restrict peripheral vision (which is not true)
  • You can’t hear much with a helmet on (you can easily hear other cars and vehicles on the road)
  • Helmet laws are intrusive (for your safety duh!)

The list goes on. But I think I have covered the main ones.

Enough of the reason why one doesn’t wear a helmet. Let’s discuss why one should.

Why you should wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle

Motorcycle riders riding on road with helmet on

First, wearing a helmet protects the rider from injuries. Your head is protected in case of any accidents or crashes.

For this reason alone, every motorcycle rider out there should wear a helmet. The helmet can save your life.

Second, the helmet visor prevents dust from blowing into your eyes. When you ride at higher speeds, the dust in the wind blows into your eyes. Your eyes water, you are irritated, and most of all – you lose focus on the road.

The helmet visor prevents all of that problems. Protects your eyes from dust.

Third and last, helmets help you focus on the road. With the helmet on, the rider’s attention is higher on the road and is in more tune with the speed control.

These reasons should be enough for a motorcycle rider to wear a helmet. In fact, the first reason one alone is more than enough.

So I am not going to beat the dead horse. For your big dumb head’s sake, go wear a helmet.

Consequences of NOT wearing a helmet

We know the consequences.

Any crash or accident involved is fatal for a motorcycle rider if he/she is not wearing a helmet.

I have said enough words. And ending this post with a video showing the consequence of not wearing a helmet.

Fair warning. This video is not suitable for work and contains a graphic motorcycle crash.

Before you go…

Wearing a helmet is the bare minimum.

Once you own a helmet, then comes a few more questions. We have covered some important ones:

What to do with the helmet when you park the motorcycle

How to clean a motorcycle helmet

When does a helmet expire