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In some jurisdictions, motorcyclists may not be required to wear helmets when they take to the road. While many states and municipalities may not require the use of a helmet, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) suggests that bikers who wear one may just be able to save their lives if they’re involved in a crash.

MSF warns that not just any helmet would do, though. Instead, it’s important to bikers to wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant one.

They also warn that motorcyclists may also benefit from wearing a jacket with long sleeves, shoes that cover their ankles, motorcycle gloves and pants.

While, collectively, these may all save your life in the event of a crash, a helmet is particularly critical in this respect. It can protect your brain and face if you crash.

Helmets have four important features that can keep you safe.

First there’s the outer shell. It’s generally formulated from either a polycarbonate or fiber composite material. Both of surfaces compress when they sustain any impact. This helps deflect a significant amount of energy from a motorcyclist’s head.

The lining that runs along the inside portion of the helmet’s shell is made of a type of material most commonly known as Styrofoam. The liner is a multi-layer, impact-absorbing material that absorbs the shock of impact and keeps your head from being violently moved about.

Comfort padding lines the inner portion of the helmet that lies closest to a motorcyclist’s head. It helps to keep you safe by helping make the helmet fit your head more tightly.

As for the chin strap, which is also known as its retention system, it’s an especially important feature of your helmet. It keeps it from coming off if you were to be struck.

When choosing a motorcycle helmet, the more one covers your head and face, the more likely it is to protect your head and face in a crash. By selecting a DOT-compliant one, you’ll ensure that it meets necessary standards that have been shown to prevent the most injuries.

A person who doesn’t ride a motorbike may assume that a helmet is unimportant, especially when so many jurisdictions don’t require motorcyclists to wear them. They serve much the same role for bikers that seat belts do for car drivers, though. A Los Angeles motorcycle accidents attorney who has spent decades suing negligent motorists for biker injuries and deaths can attest to that.