Choosing the right motorcycle helmet can help prevent concussions and other traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash. According to data provided by the New York State Department of Health, helmets are 67 percent effective at preventing brain injuries in accidents, and 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries.
But just as important as making the decision to wear a motorcycle helmet is choosing a motorcycle helmet that will keep you safe. Here are X tips for choosing the right helmet for you.
The first thing you need to consider when shopping for the right helmet is the size. Fit is important, both for comfort and for safety. A helmet that does not fit may come off during a crash or fit too high and fail to protect you properly.
Measuring just above your eyebrows and around your head at the largest point will give you your head circumference. Most helmets include a size chart, allowing you to find the appropriate size. You should also try on the helmet to ensure comfort and fit. Many helmets also offer ways to adjust interior padding in order to achieve the best fit.
New York law requires that all helmets worn by motorcyclists meet certain safety standards. All helmets in the United States should meet standards set by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Helmets that meet these standards have a U.S. DOT sticker, making them easy to identify.
The Snell Memorial Foundation provides even tougher standards and tests helmets for certification. Choosing a helmet with Snell certification offers additional protection, even beyond that provided by a typical DOT-approved helmet.
Some helmets will not protect your head and brain in the event of a crash. Known as “novelty” helmets, these helmets do not meet DOT standards. They will not offer adequate protection to prevent serious injuries in a crash.
While some open face and shorty helmets – also known as three-fourths and half helmets, respectively – do have DOT certification, they do not offer the full range of protection available from full face helmets. A full face helmet protects your forehead, face, chin, and neck in a way that these other helmets cannot.
It is also a good idea to avoid used helmets. Even the smallest impact can fracture the inner shell of a helmet. These tiny fractures may not be visible, but can reduce the effectiveness of a helmet. For this reason, you should also replace your helmet after even a minor crash.