How can you tell if your motorcycle helmet is safe? Some manufacturers offer mail-away testing services to analyze your helmet’s integrity after a crash or drop, but this isn’t available for every brand. An Australian start-up called Helmet Doctors is looking to change that, with a new scanning service that will examine headgear from any manufacturer.
Father-son team Scott and Brayden Robinson started Helmet Doctors as a practical response to a real-life incident. Brayden suffered a fractured skull while motocross riding, causing him and his father to take a closer look at helmet safety. After the crash, Scott said Brayden’s helmet still looked like it was in good condition. Both of them saw a need for proper helmet examination, to ensure riders didn’t just slap on a compromised helmet after a crash and continue riding, without knowing about hidden damage.
The Robinsons are working on a localized testing system, available for all helmet brands. To do this, they’ve worked with the University of Queensland as well as a Belgian company, developing a laser-scanning procedure that analyzes a helmet’s integrity. Motorbike Writer says the scanner examines the helmet’s outer shell, checking for invisible damage in composite materials. The idea is, riders would drop their helmet off with a participating dealership which would send the suspect helmet to a central location for testing. The service would cost $40.
The problem, as always, is money. Helmet Doctors’ founders believe the proposed service would be a valuable option for racers and street riders, but starting operations would cost about $2 million AUD. They’ve already raised $500,000 in capital and nailed down a government grant for $1 million, so they’re well on their way. The economics will no doubt be tricky, but supposedly a motorcycle manufacturer is interested in including the Helmet Doctors’ service through its Australian dealership chain, which might help even out the financial aspect.