Few things match the freedom and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle. However, you must remember to prioritize safety every time you ride because an accident and injury will surely ruin your experience.
Taking things further, motorcycle accidents are particularly dangerous because a bike offers you little protection. One of the few defenses you can and should be using is a helmet.
Helmets are 37% successful at preventing a fatality, which makes them essential for mitigating the risk of serious injuries while riding a motorcycle. While they do not guarantee your safety, your odds of survival are much higher when wearing a helmet.
Something to keep in mind is that not all helmets are effective and some are better suited for you than others. To help you pick the best choice to protect your head, we’ll point out what you should be considering about motorcycle helmets below.
First, you’ll need to determine which helmet style is best for your riding needs.
There are six primary different styles of motorcycle helmets including half, open face, full face, modular, off-road, and dual-sport variations. Each helmet has a slightly different focus and is shaped to accommodate this.
Off-road helmets are primarily used for motocross and dirt biking. They are designed for dirt roads and aren’t the greatest pairing on city streets.
Dual-sport helmets are similar but typically offer more comfort like one of the other four styles do, making it a balance between an off-road and city helmet.
This means that half, open face, full face, and modular helmets are the four choices if you’re looking for your average motorcycle helmet.
Half helmets only cover the top and upper portion of the back of your head, meaning that they provide the least protection. Open face helmets are slightly better as they cover the sides of your head, but leave your face exposed as well.
While these styles offer less protection, they are typically lighter and easier to wear. They also let you feel the wind on your face, which is an iconic experience of riding a motorcycle.
Full face helmets are the safest you can buy because they protect your entire head. Modular helmets do the same, but they have joints and hinges that may become weak points in an accident.
As you can see, there are benefits and drawbacks to each type of helmet. If you ride often and want the most protection, a full face or modular helmet is your best choice.
Next, you’ll want to verify that the helmet you wear fits properly.
This may seem like common sense, but you might misunderstand what a proper fit entails. This is crucial because a poorly fitting helmet may fall off or provide inadequate protection in an accident, rendering it pointless.
Your helmet should fit on your head quite snugly. After securing the chin strap, you should not be able to roll it forward off your head. It should hug your head tight enough so that your scalp slightly moves along with the helmet when you push it around.
Furthermore, the helmet should be touching your temples and cheeks without applying too much pressure. A new helmet may be a little tighter than you’d like, but it will loosen with use.
It can be difficult to determine if a helmet is a good fit when first trying it on for this reason. You also won’t know how your head feels after wearing it for a long ride.
Keep this in mind and try to find a good medium between snugness and breathing room. Anticipate how the helmet will change over time and how you might feel during a longer trip.
The construction quality of your motorcycle helmet is also significant. While just about any helmet can be useful, it can also be ineffective if it is poorly constructed.
Quality is especially important when it comes to safety equipment because quality translates to reliability. You can depend on a high-quality helmet to protect your head during a crash because it’s made with great materials and it’s structurally sound.
The four aspects you should pay the most attention to include the chin strap, the filling of the helmet, how much it weighs, and the outer material of the helmet.
A good chin strap will keep the helmet snugly fastened and won’t come loose. High-quality filling will mean lots of thick cushioning capable of absorbing impact. Try to avoid any helmets that have a cheap plastic outer shell.
One characteristic you can use to test the construction quality of a helmet is its weight. Generally speaking, higher-quality helmets weigh more because better materials tend to be denser.
This is not a perfect rule, but it does mean that a light helmet probably isn’t your safest choice. That said, make sure you don’t pick something so heavy it strains your neck.
When it comes to safety, you can’t skimp on helmet quality.
You should also look for an indicated safety rating on the helmet you choose.
Every helmet available for sale must meet safety standards set by the government. This ensures that they are effective by providing proper protection in a crash.
Any helmet that meets this standard will have a Department of Transportation (DoT) compliance sticker on it that indicates its approval. While most helmets you’ll find will have this sticker, some helmets are sold as novelty items and these often do not comply with federal safety standards.
Considering this, you should only wear a DoT-approved motorcycle helmet to ensure its effectiveness. Wearing a novelty helmet places you at risk and should be avoided at all costs.
Lastly, you should think about how comfortable the helmet is.
While comfort does not necessarily translate to safety, it does speak to how you feel about the helmet. A comfortable helmet will make you feel positive and secure, while an uncomfortable model will fill you with dread and cause pain.
The more comfortable your helmet is, the more likely you are to wear it. If it doesn’t feel like a burden and you know how useful it can be, then there’s no question about putting it on.
On the other hand, you may debate neglecting to wear an uncomfortable helmet. This is a major mistake because it only takes one accident to cause permanent complications.
Comfort is not as important as the other factors mentioned above, but you should still consider it because your experience matters, too.
If you want to ride a motorcycle, then you need to wear a helmet every time you hit the road. Motorcycle accidents are often deadly, but a helmet can save your life in the right circumstances. Going without one makes a fatality almost inevitable.
Because of this, you need to find a great helmet that will always keep you safe. A few characteristics to evaluate include the helmet style, how well it fits, the level of construction quality, whether it has a safety rating, and how comfortable it is.
Don’t rush the process of buying a bike helmet! It’s an investment in your future and your decision can have a big impact when you need it most!