Safety is one of the important areas that is drastically improved by having a helmet that comes with a Bluetooth system, or that is designed to have a Bluetooth bundle installed, as compared with other common alternatives. Some of the alternatives are the combination of wearing earbuds, with or without a microphone, or a Bluetooth device, with a traditional motorcycle helmet that is not designed to have a Bluetooth bundle installed.
In two previous articles, I described the ease of installation and performance of the Hawk Bluetooth motorcycle helmet. In both cases, my expectations were definitely exceeded, and to say the least, I was impressed.
This past week, I switched back to my old set up for a few days – a traditional full-faced motorcycle helmet and my cell phone with earbuds and microphone combination. My cell phone was attached to a quick-release mount on my handlebars just inside of the handlebar grip on the clutch-side. The bottom-line, this was my last time trying to use this combination rather than a helmet that comes with Bluetooth installed or that is Bluetooth-ready.
Two things that make sense for safety are that you want both eyes on the road and both hands on your handlebars as much as possible when riding. With keeping both eyes on the road, I noticed that when I was wearing the traditional helmet with earbuds and a microphone that I frequently looked down at my cell. Even with just a slight change in how the sunlight glimmers or the shadows darken the area where my cell was mounted, I’d look down to see if my phone was ringing.
One of the reasons I kept looking at my cell was because the earbuds aren’t intended to be smashed awkwardly into your ears, so I wasn’t confident that I’d know when I got a call. With putting on a helmet while wearing earbuds, I’d have the earbuds in the right position, but even after putting my helmet on carefully, they’d shift. After multiple attempts of trying to get the earbuds in the right position, I’d get the earbuds positioned to a point of just “good enough” and get to riding. An additional item to note is that ever since I tried the Hawk Bluetooth helmet, I got used to having great clarity and my standards and expectations were changed.
Another safety issue I found testing out my traditional setup is that because of the location of the microphone, it made it difficult to use voice commands. The microphone was either pressed up against my face or the microphone was slightly dangling below the bottom of the padding and catching the wind. Both of which made it so my cell was not able to process voice commands or where the cell was activated unintentionally.
So, without the ability to activate my cell with voice commands, I had to take my eyes off the road to locate where on the phone I needed to touch when I needed to answer a call. I know what a lot of people will say, and I agree, that riding time should be about riding, but in today’s age of constant connectivity to the rest of the world, occasionally there is a call I have to take.
Although it was just for a quick period of time that I needed to take my eyes off the road to locate the icon to answer my cell, the next thing I had to do to answer a call was to take my hand off the handlebars to accept the call – not ideal for safety. Also, while wearing gloves trying to touch a small icon on my cell’s phone screen, it took a number of times poking at it to hit the icon in just the right spot, thereby spending more time with my eyes off the road and my left hand off the handlebars.
The same process of taking my eyes off the road and one hand off of the handlebars happened when I wanted to change the volume during a call or listening to music. Again, since cell phones were not designed to be used with gloves, it took a couple times to change the volume by one level.
In an upcoming article, I’ll post the safety advantages I found with the Hawk helmet with a Bluetooth bundle that you can buy on LeatherUp.
Let us know what your thoughts are on the related safety issues of using a Bluetooth helmet on social media.