Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Riders do not have the protection of an enclosed vehicle, and they are less stable and not as visible as cars. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 26 times more deaths on motorcycles than in cars per mile travelled in 2013.
Although it is not possible to avoid all motorcycle accidents – particularly those caused by negligent motorists – there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of serious injuries or death. Perhaps the most important of these is wearing an appropriate helmet.
Until then, here is a brief guide to choosing the correct motorcycle helmet for your needs:
Consider the Purpose of the Helmet
According to MotorSport.com, you should consider the purpose of the helmet before making your purchase. What type of bike do you ride? Where do you ride? How often do you ride?
If you are a beginner, you may not need the most advanced helmet on the market. If you ride regularly, or if you use a motorcycle to commute to work, a higher-end helmet can provide more comfort and safety features. Commuter helmets can also protect you from wind noise and offer improved aerodynamics. If you tend to ride in groups, a helmet with built-in communication features can enhance both your safety and your overall enjoyment.
Evaluate the Helmet’s Weight and Construction
MotorSport.com recommends looking for a helmet with weight that distributes evenly across your head and shoulders. A lighter helmet with a poor center of gravity can actually feel heavier and reduce the stability of your head and neck. At the same time, a heavier helmet does not necessarily mean it will offer better protection.
The helmet construction and material are important factors to consider. They can influence the safety rating, weight and comfort.
According to MotoUSA, the interior foam lining is the most important feature of helmet safety. Most helmets use expanded polystyrene to absorb and disperse energy from the impact. This is still the industry standard, but manufacturers are now producing helmets with dual-foam liners to improve safety.
Review Safety Ratings
The most important step in choosing a helmet is to look for its safety ratings. A helmet that lacks basic certifications may not be of much assistance in the event of a crash. There are two ratings to consider:
- The United States Department of Transportation sets a basic safety standard for motorcycle helmets. It may appear on the helmet simply as “DOT.”
- The Snell Foundation is a non-profit that performs several tests on motorcycle helmets before certifying them.
You should not consider a helmet that is not DOT or Snell certified. If you are unsure about your helmet’s certifications, visit http://www.helmetcheck.org.
If you were in a motorcycle crash in Alabama, contact a Birmingham accident attorney from Morris Bart. We can evaluate your collision to determine if you may have valid grounds for a claim. Schedule a consultation today by calling 800-537-8185.