Icon Airframe Statistic: The motorcycle helmet for safety evangelists


April 25, 2014

Icon's Airframe Statistic - a motorcycle helmet with a message

Icon's Airframe Statistic - a motorcycle helmet with a message

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The numbers you see on each section of this helmet represent the likelihood of that section taking an impact in a crash ... and they tell a very powerful story that's guaranteed to create arguments with other riders.

Motorcyclists are rarely shy when it comes to their opinions, especially when it comes to their opinions on what safety gear other people are wearing.

There are two camps. The ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) crew and the "squids," so named because when you wear just a helmet and you’ve got a bunch of unprotected fleshy parts dangling underneath, you look a bit like a sea creature.

For many in the ATGATT brigade, it’s not enough just to be wearing safety gear, you’ve got to be wearing the right safety gear. Roll up in an open face helmet, and you’ll sometimes hear sly asides like "you might as well not be wearing a helmet at all."

If that’s the sort of thing you find yourself saying a lot, then boy does Icon have the lid for you! Sectioned up like a butcher’s carcass, each section of the helmet Airframe Statistic is boldly marked with a big percentage number that shows exactly how likely each part of the helmet is to take impact in a crash.

The stats appear to come from the well-known and wonderfully-named Hurt Report, and they tell a very convincing story. By far the most common areas of impact are on the chin piece, an area that’s completely unprotected if you’re wearing an open-face helmet.

The least common point of impact is the very top of the head, just 0.4 percent of crash victims took a knock here. So if you’re using the Airframe Statistic as some sort of trauma scoreboard, that’s clearly where you want to try to whack your head for maximum points.

While it’s a macabre and powerful message, it’s unlikely to change many minds. Most open-face helmet wearers are well and truly aware of the crash statistics, others will put forward arguments that wearing helmets at all is more dangerous than riding with the wind in your hair. At the end of the day, as long as it’s legal to make the choice, people will continue to do so.

But this helmet makes a very strong and simple message that could easily sway a new rider toward a full-coverage lid. At the very least, it’ll start conversations at the coffee shop. And as such, I reckon it’s a great little piece of communication.

Source: Icon

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain

Given these stats, I wonder if there's a market for 'headless' helmets that include a chin bar but are open on top. Might make you look like some kind of weird techno-monk...

I can sympathise with the need for a chin bar - yesterday I crashed my mountain bike pretty badly and took the impact on the side of my (open face) helmet, cheekbone, jaw and chin - it almost looks like someone painted a chin bar on half my face using blood and gravel :).


I love this idea and Synchro, I think maybe Bane had something like that.


The helmet is based on this graphic that came out of the Hurt Report:

There are actually 2 numbers missing 5.5% and 4.4% for the right and left sides of the visor. When you add up the 8 numbers that make up the left and right sides of the face area there is a 63.6% chance of hitting face first.

If people choose not to wear helmets I'm not going to tell them what to do but personally I wear a full face helmet even if I'm going a block only because if I didn't wear a full face helmet I would still have to wear eye protection for bugs/dust.

I remember my brother got on his dirtbike without a helmet exactly once to drive up the road and turn around to test a new set of handlebars. On his way back our dog that was chasing him came out of a corn field in time to intersect his path he crashed. The dog always chased him but he didn't usually turn around and come back there. Sometimes even the short trips you don't think matter are the ones that matter the most.


The main argument against full face helmets is that it is difficult to administer CPR, oxygen etc in an emergency. Removing a full face helmet from an accident victim may exacerbate spinal and head injuries. The possibility that heavy headware can precipitate spinal injuries is real.


@Nutcase: no. The Hurt report also found that there was no evidence to suggest that any additional injuries were caused by additional weight of a helmet.

If you are in an accident serious enough that you're going to need your helmet cut off, chances are you'd be dead if you'd not been wearing one, so I'd say injuries from removal, if they exist, are moot. I also guess that any ambulance crew will have equipment capable of removing a helmet with minimal movement.


@nutcase arguing that helmets are less safe than not wearing helmets is like arguing that you are safer by not wearing a seatbelt. Sure there are cases but the statistics point to you being much less safe without a helmet than with one:

If you are injured badly enough in an accident that CPR is needed to save you, you are in pretty serious trouble. CPR mostly only works in the movies. "The actual adult survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is about 5-10%." (source:

If someone wants to debate the lack of need for a helmet because they are placing only themselves in danger that's their right but I disagree when you make the case that not wearing a helmet is any safer.

Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 35 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash. For unhelmeted rider head injury was the most common cause of death and helmets reduce the odds of death by almost 40% (source

Even if you don't die in the accident hitting your face to pavement is like taking a watermelon to a belt sander.

Personally, I think the difference in survival for unhelmeted riders when all other factors are the same is even lower than the statistics imply. Many riders of super sports wear helmets but they also tend to be less experienced and drive at higher speeds vs the safer speeds associated with the more frequently helmetless "harley" guys. As it stands now the higher accident survival rate actually belongs to the group most commonly associated with inexperience and reckless driving habits.


"The actual adult survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is about 5-10%." (source: "

I heard that this number is due to the number of people who receive CPR being less that 20%. Still, you aren't going to get Any help if your face is hamburger


While I own two full-face helmets, for in-town use I strongly resent not having bought a flip-up helmet the second time around.

The major disadvantage of full-face helmets for me is not being able to be heard. It's like wearing a big muffler in your mouth. WHEN people can hear you, it's very likely they can't do so clearly (and I am a loud- and clear-voiced person).

In a great many situations it makes things a lot easier and safer (and more subtle) if you can speak or shout rather than beep the horn.

Solution: for many quick trips around the city center, the helmet unfortunately stays IN the box.

Τριαντάφυλλος Καραγιάννης

'Squid' refers to the way they move: like a squid, just jetting off in each new direction, no graceful arcs; so a magazine said anyway.


I'm an ATGATT rider. As an IT Professional, I have to talk for a living. I wear a full face modular helmet to protect my jaw, armored jacked and abrasion resistant riding pants every time I get on the scoot. This has also made the wife much more accepting of my scooters.

I'll never be cool enough for a crotch rocket, but if Honda ever decides to import the Integra scooter to the US, I'm all over it!


See if you can find a paramedic or an ambo who wears a full face


Any helmet is better than no helmet, even a simple beanie type as long as it carries a DOT approval at minimum will provide minimum injury reduction protection at the point of impact . Paramedics are (or at least should be) trained in the procedure of "cervical traction" for the proper removal of a helmet in the event of the need for CPR or breathing support. Helmets should NEVER be removed by someone who is not properly trained. There is no conclusive evidence that helmets contribute to neck or spine injuries but, in the event of a motorcycle accident neck and spine injuries should always be suspected and a victim should always be administered to as if those type of injuries are present.

I peraonally prefer open face (3/4) helmets on a road ride, especially when riding my vintage bike...I'm an adult...experienced in motorcycle riding for over 40 years and I understand the risk I am taking by not wearing a full face helmet. Even if I lived in a helmet law state (which I don't) it's my choice. REMEMBER...A helmet is NOT designed to prevent is not a magic safety device that prevents accidents nor is it the magic "potion" of complete motorcycle safety! A helmet is designed to reduce the severity of impacts and spread them over the entire area of the helmet. A helmet has limits and when those limits are exceeded it's effectiveness is drastically reduced and compromised.

James Viverito
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