All motorcycle riders and pillion riders who venture out in the Philippine public roads must wear a standard motorcycle helmet which bears either the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) of the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS). Some other acceptable helmets may bear either the DOT symbol, ECE certification, or FIM or Snell ratings, too. Regardless of the type of motorcycle that one drives, the same standard protective motorcycle helmet is required. A full-face one is recommended, but there are other motorcycle helmet styles that offer different level of protection and purposes available in the market to suit the rider’s preference.
Helmets are a mandatory part of a motorcycle rider’s dress code. According to the Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), it’s a non-negotiable requirement mandated by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) zin accordance with Republic Act (RA) 10054, otherwise known as the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009. That said, failure to wear one is a punishable violation which entails fines and penalties ranging from P1,500.00 to P10,000.00 plus confiscation of license of those who dare to defy.
What is a standard motorcycle helmet?
A standard motorcycle helmet is a motorcycle-specific, big, cushioned, oval hat designed to protect the soft, squishy heads of motorcycle riders. Before it can be considered fit for motorcycle riders’ use, however, a helmet has to have the following elements first:
- The hard outer shell
The hard outer shell of your helmet is built to deflect the full force of a strong impact and shield your helmet and your head from being punctured or harmed by any object.
- The inner line
Made primarily of crushable foam, typically polystyrene, the inner layer of a motorcycle helmet is designed to take on the responsibility of absorbing any additional impact, saving your brain from getting brushed, hammered, or experiencing a bone-jarring collision with your skull.
- The comfort layer
The comfort layer refers to the fabric and foam liner plush combination designed to keep the rider’s head in a cozy embrace and to keep you cool and dry as it wicks away sweat and moisture.
- The retention system/chin strap
The chin strap keeps the helmet in place on the head and prevents it from falling off while driving.
These things generally set a motorcycle helmet apart from other types. So if your helmet doesn’t have these features, it’s probably not a proper motorcycle helmet and won’t be able to offer protection at the speeds you’re interested in as a motorcycle rider.
Types of Motorcycle Helmet Styles
As mentioned above, there are different styles of motorcycle helmets that riders can choose from according to their preferences. Each type offers protection of different levels, and are designed for different purposes as well.
Here are the different motorcycle helmet designs available in the market right now:
The full-face helmet is a style of a motorcycle helmet that features a sturdy chin bar and a visor, providing comprehensive coverage, making it a popular choice for riders who are seeking all-around performance.
Open-face (a.k.a. jet)
This helmet style has no chin bar. It does offer an increased airflow and an easy on-off functionality. However, without a chin bar, it’s best to note that this type does not offer any chin protection and may not perform well in rainy conditions unless equipped with a sufficiently long visor.
The modular type of helmet is one designed somewhere between the full-face and open-face options, offering the flexibility of switching between full-face protection and the convenience of an open-face design. It’s slightly heavier, but if you’re one for versatility, the modular design is one that can adapt to different riding scenarios.
Those who like off-road adventures and dirt tracks, then they can go for the especially-designed off-road helmets. This type of helmet is designed specifically for rugged terrains. It features a distinctive long and pointed chin bar, a peak, and a spacious eye area perfect for accommodating goggles. It is also lightweight and highly breathable, offering optimal comfort during intense off-road rides. However, it has very minimal sound isolation and aerodynamics, so experts do not recommend it for highway riding.
Hybrid (a.k.a. ADV/enduro helmets)
If you’re a rider seeking both on-road and off-road experiences, then the hybrid adventure helmet is your ideal companion. As it is designed for the versatile riders, this type of helmet often features a visor (sometimes detachable), a peak, and spacious eye ports that easily accommodate dirt goggles. It also provides better aerodynamics compared to off-road helmets, and the peak is removable for enhanced performance during long highway rides.
Penalties for not Wearing a Standard Helmet
The penalty for not wearing a helmet isn’t just for riders, as per RA No. 10054. It covers motorcycle dealers, riders, and even back-riders or passengers. The law also offers fines and penalties according to the frequency and severity of the No Helmet Violation.
Here’s a list of damages you’ll be faced with if you don’t comply with the provisions of the Motorcycle Helmet Act.
For authorized motorcycle dealers who fail to provide a helmet on motorcycle purchase or as an add-on option: Failure to comply may result in a penalty ranging from P10,000.00 to P20,000.00.
For riders who are caught riding without a motorcycle helmet, the fines and penalties imposed by the LTO are as follows:
First offense = P1,500.00
Second offense = P3,000.00
Third offense = P5,000.00
Fourth and subsequent offenses = P10,000.00 plus license confiscation
Do note that the Motorcycle Helmet Act also covers the pillion riders and not just the drivers. So, even if you are wearing a helmet, if your back-rider isn’t, you’ll still end up facing fines and penalties from the violation of the Motorcycle Helmet Act.
Wearing a helmet should be second nature to riders who value their lives and safety as well as their cycling community. It’s a fundamental responsibility, as much as securing a license. Plus, taking the time to choose a helmet that offers the utmost safety and performance reflects both self-love, self-respect, and the commitment to protect what matters most.