Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet

While motorcycling is an inherently dangerous activity, and it is likely that most personal injury attorneys would advise against riding on a motorcycle, if you are insistent on biking, please pick out a safe helmet. Get one that is both Snell certified as well as DOT certified.

You may also wish to consider a full face helmet instead of a half helmet or 3/4 helmet. According to the 1981 Hurt Report found that as many as 31% of all impacts occur below the DOT test zone.

Be sure to check for recalls and possible product defects on any helmet you consider. And never buy a used helmet. If a helmet has been dropped or "gone down" it ceases being effective and a new helmet is required.

How well are you protected?

As spring approaches and the weather warms, many bikers spend more and more time on the open road. Fresh air, the wind in your face and the smell of freshly cut grass, all at one time, is an experience unique to motorcycling. In many states such as California, helmets are mandatory safety gear. There are many styles of helmets currently being made by even more manufacturers. It may be surprising to learn that just because a helmet sticker says it meets certain standards, such as DOT, it may not. And just because it meets a certain standard does not mean the helmet is free from defects.

Generally speaking helmets must pass certain tests. The tests are usually confined to three areas: Retention (will it stay on your head) Penetration (will it keep something from hitting your head) and Impact Attenuation (will it protect your brain in an impact so that it is not injured).

If any helmet has been involved in a prior crash, you should not use that helmet and buy a new one. "When in doubt, throw it out" is a good rule of thumb. Helmets come in three basic styles: full face, three-quarter and half shell or "shortie" helmets. Full face is thought to afford the most protection for the obvious reason that it covers most of the head. With helmets, just because it's covered does not mean it's protected. In any motorcycle accident where head and brain injuries are suffered, an examination of the helmet must be undertaken to determine whether there was any defect in manufacturing or design.

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