While not all state laws require motorcyclists to wear a helmet, doing so can provide riders an essential layer of protection in the event of a crash. Not all helmets provide adequate protection, however. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all motorcycle helmets sold in the United States meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS).
But some riders wear helmets that don't meet the standard set by the DOT. These helmets function more as costume than cushion against traumatic injury. People who wear these helmets, mistakenly thinking they are adequately protected from the force of a collision, could be courting a very unwelcome surprise.
If you are a motorcyclist shopping for an FMVSS-approved helmet, make sure you buy one with the following safety features:
- Weight of at least three pounds
- Solid construction, including a thick chin strap and strong rivets
- A thick inner liner made of polystyrene foam that's at least one inch thick
- A smooth design without any protrusions of more than two-tenths of an inch
- Labels validating the safety of the helmet from the DOT, the manufacturer and other organizations
Wearing a helmet can't protect riders against all potential head injuries resulting from a crash, but wearing a helmet with the correct safety measures in place can help ensure that riders who do get into an accident will be protected to the maximum possible extent. Motorcyclists who get into an accident as a result of another's negligence should contact a lawyer to discuss securing appropriate compensation for their injuries.