For decades, millions of individuals have enjoyed riding motorcycles as
both a freeing form of recreation and efficient transportation. While
the benefits of riding a motorcycle are second to none, it is imperative
that riders keep safety in mind and ensure they wear the proper gear to
protect themselves from injury as much as it depends upon them. Whether
a person is enjoying the thrill of off-road riding on a dirt bike or commuting
to work on a cruiser, wearing the right helmet is crucial.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets can reduce
a rider’s risk of death in an accident by up to 37%, as well as
reduce a rider’s risk of brain injury by a whopping 67%. Additionally,
helmet use is required for motorcyclists in many states and counties. When considering the massive
selection of helmets to choose from, however, it can be difficult to know
what type and size of helmet will provide the best protection and comfort.
To help you make an informed decision, be sure to consider the following tips.
Necessary Protection Features
All helmets should include four basic components:
Outer shell: This is the outermost part of the helmet and is usually composed of fiber-reinforced
composites. The outer shell will help lessen the blow of impact.
Impact-absorbing liner: The second layer, which is usually made of Styrofoam or a similar material,
absorbs the shock of impact and directs the energy of a hard hit away
from your head.
Comfort padding: This part actually touches your head. While provided for comfortable
wear, it also acts as a means of helping the helmet fit snuggly on your head.
Retention system: Retention systems, or chin straps, ensure that the helmet will stay on
your head during a collision.
Your helmet should comply with safety standards established by the Department
of Transportation (DOT), indicated by a DOT sticker or a seal of approval
from the Snell Memorial Foundation. These organizations test all helmets
for resistance to impacts and penetration, as well as ensure their proper
retention and non-obstruction of riders’ peripheral vision.
Choosing a Style and Level of Comfort
If your chosen helmet has the necessary safety features, your next concern
should be regarding its design and comfort. Most helmets fall into the
following three categories:
Full-face: These helmets cover the entire face and head, often including a movable
Three-quarter/open face: These helmets are similar to full-face helmets, though they do not include
a face shield. If you choose this type of helmet, it is recommended you
also purchase a pair of sturdy goggles or an impact-resistant attachable
Half-helmet: These helmets only protect the top of your head. Generally speaking,
half-helmets are not recommended for motorcycle use.
Your helmet should fit slightly tight but not place too much pressure on
any area. Your helmet will eventually contour to the shape of your head
over time, though it should never become loose. Check the cheek pads,
your range of motion, the snugness of the chin strap, and any potential
pressure points that can cause soreness. Most importantly, roll your helmet
forward off your head with the chin strap securely tightened. You should
not be able to pull the helmet off.
How Often Should I Replace My Helmet?
Since helmets can cost hundreds of dollars, many riders are inclined to
take good care of their helmets and extend their life. With that being
said, the polymers and foams in your helmet can lose their effectiveness
as time goes by, making it important to periodically replace your helmet
to ensure proper protection. Generally speaking, without any accidents,
a helmet should be replaced once every 4 years. Since helmets are only
designed to withstand one major impact, it is important you replace your
helmet if you are involved in an accident or suspect your helmet has endured
a significant hit.
Unfortunately, helmets can only do so much to protect riders in the event
of an accident. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact
the knowledgeable Sarasota motorcycle accident attorneys at Florida Biker
Call us today. We are attorneys who ride.