When parking your motorcycle at your local restaurant or service station, you are left with the decision of what to do with motorcycle helmet when parked. You can either carry it with you, leave it on the bike, or store it in the pannier and top box. In the article below, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of all of these methods.
Carrying it with you
The simplest thing to do is to take the helmet with you. This option has the advantage of giving you complete peace of mind since you’ll be certain that there’s no way for the helmet to get stolen or tampered with as you’ll have your eyes on it the entire time.
This is also a good solution if you have an expensive helmet since thieves tend to target helmets that are worth a lot of money and that look brand new. Carrying the helmet with you is also a good idea when parking in neighborhoods that don’t look safe.
However, carrying the helmet with you is rarely as simple as it seems since not only are certain helmets extremely heavy and bulky, but sometimes your destination won’t allow you to keep the helmet with you. You also need to consider comfort since most riders dislike having to keep their gear with them since it leaves one or both hands constantly busy.
Most activities, even simple ones such as shopping, become nearly impossible when you have a helmet in your hands. If you’re a forgetful person, there’s also the risk of placing the helmet down somewhere to free up your hands for a moment and forgetting about it.
Retracing your steps back can be frustrating, especially when combined with the stress of not knowing for sure if you’ll be able to find the helmet again.
Another way of carrying the helmet with you without it becoming a burden is to put it in a helmet bag or your backpack. You can purchase a helmet bag so that you can carry the helmet around easily and safely. Most helmet bags will also leave extra room for the goggles, gloves, and other accessories.
If you don’t plan on investing in a helmet bag, you can still strap the helmet to your duffle bag or backpack. The best way to go about it is to loop the strap of the duffle bag through the visor. For a backpack, you can use a carabiner shackle and a strap to attach the helmet to the handle of the bag.
Riders are constantly looking for new ways to make it easier to store their helmet without the risk of it being stolen or misplaced. The only other alternative is to place it on your bike, either locked or unlocked.
But what is the safest place to leave it on? When is it safe to leave it on your bike? How can you make hanging the helmet on the bike be safer? All of these questions and more will be answered below.
When is it safe to leave the helmet on your bike?
Most riders invest quite a lot of money in their helmets, so the fear of it getting stolen is completely understandable. It is safe to leave your helmet on your bike as long as it is locked, and you’ll not be away from it for too long.
If you’re in a group with other riders, it is usually safer to leave the helmet on your bike since having other people around the motorcycle will usually keep potential thieves at bay. If you know the other riders well, then that’s even better since they’ll be able to watch out for the helmet while you’re doing your business.
Another way of preventing your helmet from getting stolen when leaving it on the bike is to have it in sight at all times. If you’re stopping at a restaurant, for example, you should pick a seat near the window where you can have a clear view of the bike and helmet.
You can also leave your helmet locked on the motorcycle when you’re only gone for a short time, such as when stopping to buy a few items from the grocery store or for using the bathroom.
When leaving your helmet on your bike, you won’t have to worry only about thieves. If you leave the helmet outside for too long, then ants and other insects can crawl inside, and you probably won’t notice them until it’s too late.
As such, most riders recommend leaving the helmet on your bike only for a short amount of time, generally no longer than 15 minutes. Even when the helmet is locked to the bike, it is still not 100% safe since most locks can be cut through if the thief has a metal shear cutter or a wire cutter.
The advantages and disadvantages of a helmet lock
If you want to leave the helmet on the motorcycle, the best way of ensuring security is to use a helmet lock. These products come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. It is recommended to get a lock that’s made of metal since products made of plastic can be easily removed by thieves.
Using a lock is a very convenient way of making sure that your helmet will stay secured. However, you’ll need to remember to keep it with you at all times. Leaving the helmet on your bike unprotected is an open invitation for it to get stolen even if the area you’re parking in seems safe.
Keeping the helmet on the bike will also free your hands, which is even more convenient if you happen to have a heavy helmet that’s difficult to carry for long periods.
If you don’t mind investing more money in a helmet lock, it is a good idea to get one that’s made of tough titanium that’s more robust and thus more difficult for thieves to cut. Newer models also come with alarms that will trigger if the helmet gets moved.
What you should remember is that there’s no way to hang the helmet on your bike and ensure 100% security, even with the best locks on the market. That’s because metal, even when thick, is still easy to cut with the right tools, and some thieves may even remove the part of the bike that the lock is attached to.
Even if locked, you shouldn’t leave the helmet outside overnight or for too long. Locks should only be used when you are running errands, at a restaurant, or grocery shopping. It can prevent your gear from being stolen, but you should never underestimate thieves.
Another disadvantage of a lock is that depending on the place that you choose to hang the helmet on, it may start to rock back and forth in the wind, which can damage the helmet. It is also possible for people who are squeezing past your bike in the parking lot not to notice the helmet and scratch or damage it accidentally.
Furthermore, if your helmet attaches to the lock upside down, this leaves it exposed to the elements. Rain can get inside and ruin the interior. It can also get filled with dust or with someone’s litter.
Use a pannier or the top box
A better way of securing your helmet is to use a big and lockable pannier or a top box. These can keep the helmet protected from the elements and away from the sight of thieves. They also protect the helmet from being bumped into or knocked over.
Unfortunately, not all motorcycle models come equipped with these nifty storage compartments, and while you can attach a universal pannier to most bikes, it won’t offer the same level of protection as a built-in one. This is because any accessory that you attach to your bike can be easily removed by skilled thieves. Even so, if you have the choice, it is still a better solution than leaving the helmet on your bike.
Picking a good parking spot
If taking the helmet with you is not an option, and you don’t have a helmet lock that you can use, then you will need to pay particular attention to the parking spot that you pick. The ideal parking spot should be in a well-lit area, especially if you’re parking at night, or somewhere you can keep your eye on the helmet.
Following these suggestions will make it less likely for the helmet to get stolen. However, there’s no such thing as a 100% safe parking spot, so make sure not to leave your helmet unlocked for more than a few minutes, especially at night.
If you’re only leaving your motorcycle for a short time to grab something from a shop or to go to the bathroom, then you can leave the helmet on your bike. It’s only when you plan to be away from your bike for a long time that you should bring it with you or lock it securely to the bike.
While security is important, you also need to consider your convenience and peace of mind. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying the helmet everywhere, then keeping it locked on the bike is the better option for you, even if it is not as secure.
Conversely, if you’ve invested a lot of money in your helmet and you can’t relax when you leave it on your bike even for a few short minutes, it’s ok to carry it with you everywhere you go. Try to choose whichever method works best for you while also keeping security in mind.