Mandated by law, every Malaysian motorcyclist is required to wear a helmet when riding. But many seem to take a lackadaisical attitude to wearing this essential piece of safety equipment.

It does not matter if the distance is near or far, wearing a helmet can save a rider’s life, not to mention the cost to family and community at large. However, there is another danger for riders and that is the fake helmet.

All helmets are required to have a safety certification such as ECE, DOT, SHARP, SNELL or ISI before being approved for use by authorities. Testing costs money and reputable helmet manufacturers chalk this up to the cost of doing business, with part of that cost being passed on to the consumer.

Safety has a price, as they say, and that price is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that while a helmet cannot protect from unforeseeable impact, within the limits of its safety performance, the helmet will do the job. There are some people who produce fake replica helmets of reputable brands, offering a cheaper product because nothing which they produce is submitted for any sort of testing.

This scourge of fake helmets is becoming common, especially on Malaysian Facebook. The consumer wants a branded helmet, with the fancy graphics and impressive logos but does not want to pay the price of the real thing, which, while passing a standards test, is also made from materials designed to absorb impact and in a certain thickness.

So, the fake helmet maker comes out with a replica, made from cheaper or substandard materials like plastic, mimicking the original down to the fake testing standard sticker. Pricing for a fake helmet can be as much as 20% of the cost of the original but do you know what happens when an imitation helmet fails?

Watching the video, several imitation helmets are subjected to the same ECE/DOT testing as the originals, and the fakes fail spectacularly. The video examines the overall quality of the imitation while the testing, and the after effects, can be seen at around 5:40.

What is obvious is while the fake helmet might look outwardly the same as the original, in safety, the performance is very lacking. Wanting a replica that makes you look good while riding is not an excuse to risk your life.

The lesson is clear, always purchase the best helmet you can afford and there are reputable brands sold in Malaysia starting from around the RM500 price point. While riders lust after something like a Shark Race-R Pro Carbon, AGV Pista GP, X-Lite, Shoei X-14 or Arai RX-7X, there is something in every manufacturer’s range to suit every budget, like the HJC C70 at RM949.