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Dealers launch bid to drive dangerous helmets off roads

Steven DeCouto, left, the director at Cycle Care, with Alan Richardson, a service technician, and Paul DeCouto, the co-owner of the store (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

A motorcycle dealership yesterday sounded the alarm over people riding motorbikes with dangerous crash helmets.

Now Cycle Care on Hamilton’s Dundonald Street has launched a scheme where old helmets can be traded in for discounted new ones.

Steven DeCouto, joint Cycle Care owner with brother Paul, said the exchange deal had brought in hundreds of old crash helmets which the owners said were unfit for use.

Mr DeCouto said at least 80 per cent of the old helmets that had come in over the past two months were “not road safe”.

He added: “Some of them are in terrible condition, with the padding falling apart.”

The brothers said the discount scheme was started to help boost sales in the last lockdown, but that it would be extended to help make road safety more affordable.

Paul said many of the almost 200 helmets stored at the back of the showroom were up to ten years old.

But safety experts recommend that helmets get changed every five years.

Paul added: “People have ended up putting their safety on the line to save money.”

The DeCoutos are the only authorised Nolan crash helmet dealers – the brand favoured by the Bermuda Police Service.

They began offering $100 off the cost of a new Nolan helmet in exchange for a used one, or $50 off other brands.

The brothers admitted that some helmets commanded a high price – Nolans and their economy brand, Grex, range from $200 to $400.

The DeCoutos were the only dealership to offer the brand 25 years ago.

Paul said: “People said they were too expensive and too space-age looking.

“We started wearing them ourselves to get interest going. Eventually the police came to us for them – they recognised how sturdy they were.”

He added foot traffic in the dealership had gone up “exponentially” after the discount was launched in the spring.

Paul said some people had offered to buy the old helmets – but the DeCoutos said the discarded helmets were destroyed and dumped.

The two explained that helmets deteriorated with heat, but Nolan models use a polycarbonate that the brothers said made them extra durable in Bermuda’s climate.

They added that helmet technology and materials also improved every year.

Paul said: “Not everybody has the money to buy a new helmet, but ultimately it’s about safety, so we are going to extend the discount.

“It is not something that’s been done in Bermuda that we have seen.”

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Published May 15, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated May 15, 2021 at 7:43 am)

Dealers launch bid to drive dangerous helmets off roads

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