The US Federal Government states that wearing a helmet decreases the risk of a rider dying in a motorcycle crash by 37%. Statistics by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) further point out that in the event of a motorcycle accident, riders who don’t wear helmets are 3 times more likely to develop severe brain injuries compared to those who wear certified motorcycle helmets.
These statistics imply that wearing a helmet is of primary importance for all motorcyclists. As a matter of fact, helmets are the most vital piece of safety gear that all motorcyclists should have when operating their bikes.
It’s because of this fact that different states have enacted laws regarding certified motorcycle helmets. These laws define how riders should conduct themselves when riding their motorcycles when on the road.
Certified motorcycle helmets are highly recommended for use in the US. In addition to this, the US Department of Transport (DOT) has the mandate to certify all helmets sold in the country.
Most of these helmets are for on-road use. However, off-road motorcyclists can also use DOT certified helmets because they’re considered to have a higher safety standard compared to other helmets.
The following are important laws regarding certified motorcycle helmets that you need to be aware of.
Helmets Should Meet The Set Federal Safety Standard
All helmets sold in the US should meet the set Federal safety standard. The safety of riders is vitally important. That’s why the federal government, in conjunction with the Department of Transport, has the mandate of defining the helmets that riders should wear for on-road use.
This means that not all helmets are safe for use when riding your motorcycle. In this respect, only certified motorcycle helmets should be sold to motorcyclists in the US. Furthermore, the DOT makes it mandatory for all motorcycle helmets sold in the country to be in line with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.
It’s this standard that directs the standards of performance that helmets must meet. This is in order to offer much-needed protection in the unfortunate event of a motorcycle accident. The DOT conducts annual compliance testing to establish whether the helmets that riders are using in the US are in line with the Federal safety standard.
As a result of the imperative nature of motorcycle helmets, different states have put in place laws that make it compulsory for helmets to meet FMVSS 218 standards. Therefore, if a rider wears an unsafe helmet, he or she will be violating state laws. These laws insist on using safe helmets that meet Federal safety standards.
This means that all riders should always ensure that they use certified motorcycle helmets.
How To Tell If Your Motorcycle Helmet Is Certified
There are various indications that will help you determine which motorcycle helmets are safe and which ones are not. As a motorcyclist, you should know the difference. With this information, you’ll protect yourself from legal and safety-related problems in the future.
One of the major aspects to look out for is the thickness of the inner liner. For the certified helmets meeting federal standards, the inner lining is thicker than that of other helmets.
Typically, they have a one-inch polyester foam that makes it thick enough for a rider’s safety. Another major characteristic of DOT standard helmets is that they have sturdy chin straps and solid rivets.
These are of major importance when it comes to maintaining safety. Moreover, the weight of a certified helmet should be about three pounds. Unsafe motorcycle helmets on the other hand, can weigh one pound or even less.
Therefore, in the event of a crash, riders wearing an unsafe helmet are likely to sustain severe head injuries that can prove to be life-threatening. The design and style of the helmet are also important.
A DOT standard helmet does not have extensions of more than two-tenths of an inch from the exterior of the helmet. If you find a helmet that extends further than the above-mentioned measurement, then it’s probably an unsafe helmet.
State Laws Regarding Certified Motorcycle Helmets
There are states in the US that require all riders to wear helmets. However, other states have specific ages for riders who should wear helmets. More confusing still is that there are also states that do not have laws regarding helmets at all.
Some of the states that require all riders to wear motorcycle helmets include Alabama, California, Maryland, Nebraska, and Georgia. Furthermore, some of the states that require riders of particular ages to wear helmets include Alaska (18 years), Arizona (18 years), Colorado (under 18), Connecticut (under 21) and Delaware (Under 19).
The states that don’t currently have laws regarding certified motorcycle helmets include Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire. The laws regarding certified motorcycle helmets in different states in the US show that the implementation of helmet use varies greatly.
Depending on where a rider comes from, he or she, is or is not, required to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle. However, irrespective of whether your state makes helmet-wearing compulsory, wearing a helmet is still vitally important.
Conclusion On Certified Motorcycle Helmets
Motorcycle helmets are a life-saving piece of equipment that all motorcyclists should wear when on the road. Those who wear helmets have more protection from head and brain injuries in comparison to those who don’t.
Similarly, it’s worth highlighting that certified motorcycle helmets are safer than uncertified ones because of their pertinent safety features. Federal safety standards make it a legal obligation for all motorcycle helmets sold in the US to be DOT approved.
Hence, ensure that you purchase a DOT standard motorcycle helmet to increase your level of safety when riding your motorcycle.