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What kind of motorcycle helmet should I buy?

In our last post we began a discussion about motorcycle helmets. In our state, motorcycle helmets are not mandatory, but most readers can understand that a helmet can be a great way to keep yourself protected during an accident. Although many riders feel confident in their ability to avoid being involved in an accident, we can never be too sure about what another driver is going to do. When someone decides to drink and drive or is distracted by texting, there may be no way to predict the outcome.

If you do plan on wearing a helmet, most agencies would recommend that you buy one that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Since it is not mandatory to wear a helmet, if you are choosing to wear a helmet, it’s likely because you want the safety benefits that go along with it. That’s why it’s best to avoid novelty helmets that are not compliant with FMVSS 218 standards.

The helmet should feel substantial in weight and weigh in at about three pounds. It should have about a one-inch layer of firm polystyrene foam inside the helmet. Avoid helmets that just have soft padding or only have a bare plastic shell.

Make sure the rivets on the helmet are strong and that the chin strap is secure and sturdy. The design of the helmet is important too. Make sure there is nothing sticking out of the helmet, such as a spike or decorations. Full-faced designs are usually the best in terms of protection.

The best indicator of a good helmet is if it has the DOT sticker on it. That means it meets the FMVSS 218 standards. Also look for a manufacturer’s label inside the helmet. Although it may not be a requirement in our state, it may be the difference between life and death if you are involved in an accident with a negligent driver.

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