The Hero of WW 1 was the inspiration behind the first appearance of the motorcycle helmet. Unfortunately, it was not Lawrence of Arabia’s idea that spawned the invention of the motorcycle helmet. It was his untimely death riding a motorcycle that brought the inspiration.
A Troubled Doctor
When Lawrence of Arabia died in 1935, his doctor, Dr. Hugh Cairns, began researching for ways to protect the head from injuries in a motorcycle crash. But it wasn’t until Professor C.F. Lombard, a professor at USC, that the first motorcycle helmet was invented.
The first helmets were not that effective even though they had a layer of protection to disperse the shock and impact of a crash.
The First Motorcycle Helmet Law
It was during World War 2 that the British army started issuing a motorcycle helmet to its military riders. These dispatch riders were given helmets that were a little different from the combat version.
The British army made it mandatory for all of their dispatch riders to wear these helmets. Making their ruling the first helmet law in the world. After the war, the only riders required to wear a helmet before 1960 were police officers, military riders, and racers.
Years of Research
It took years of research and development before motorcycle helmet manufacturers were able to produce the right helmet. The death of auto racer William “Pete” Snell in 1957 caused companies and governments to research helmet protection more seriously.
Governments did not start making motorcycle helmets mandatory for all riders until the beginning of the 60s. Some countries waited until the 70s to make it mandatory for all riders to wear helmets.
Some Final Words
The tragic death of a war hero in 1935, led to the first appearance of the motorcycle helmet in the 40s. Rest in peace, friend.