Second Life Helmet Campaign Hopes to Save Countless Lives

The idea is to give buyers of a new bike the unused helmet of a rider who died in a fatal collision, driving home the message to use it on every ride

motorcycle rider in Bangkok

Thailand is one of the most densely populated countries for bikers on the planet, with estimates putting the number of riders on the roads at more than 20 million in 2021.

With that vast number of bikers on the streets, there are inevitably accidents, and the website Branding Asia suggests that annually in the country around 12,000 motorcycle riders are killed on the roads every year. It goes on to write that only around 45 per cent of riders use a motorcycle helmet and that motorcyclists make up an estimated 74 per cent of road fatalities.

These are huge numbers compared to the UK, with government statistics here showing there were 350 motorcycle fatalities in 2022, and that bikers make up 18 per cent of road fatalities. The main difference between the UK and Thailand (tropical weather aside) is that we have adopted motorcycle safety equipment (clothing, boots, gloves and helmets) much more easily.

One way the Thai government is planning to boost motorcycle safety is to try and increase motorcycle helmet usage. One idea is to take the unused lid of a motorcycle rider who was killed in a fatal accident while riding, and give it to the buyer of a new motorcycle with a sticker on the lid explaining what the campaign is about. It’s important to note that this isn’t a helmet that has already been crashed in, but the one the killed rider left at home on the day they went for their last ride.

Hard-hitting the campaign may be, but with the Thai government passing laws recently making it illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet (for the rider and the passenger(s)), it does make us wonder why they don’t just enforce this law a little more enthusiastically.

I’ve been lucky enough to ride in Thailand twice in the last couple of years, and even in the metropolis of Bangkok, helmet use seems to be sporadic, and not very high on the list of priorities of both the public and the police. These pictures in this article were all taken by myself during rush hour in Bangkok, and while you can see some helmet use, quite often the passengers, sometimes multiple children on their way home from school, would be totally devoid of any form of safety equipment. The further out of the city you go, the fewer helmets you’ll see being used on the road.

You can also check out our guide to the best motorcycle helmets you can buy here.

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Image credit - author's own.

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