California requires all motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear helmets. However, not all helmets pass muster with regards to legal compliance and safety. If you are searching for your first motorcycle helmet or looking to get a new one, you can print and bring this article as a cheat sheet to make sure you make the best possible helmet choice.
Make sure the helmet is U.S. DOT compliant
Choose a motorcycle helmet that comes with certification by its manufacturer that it complies with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. This ensures that the helmet has thick enough liners and padding to protect you from a traumatic brain injury or skull fracture should you ever get knocked off your motorcycle. Unfortunately, many motorcycle gear suppliers sell non-compliant helmets mixed in with compliant, so check the packaging and tags closely (and don’t trust stuck-on labels alone). Non-U.S. DOT compliant helmets are often labeled as follows:
- Rain bonnet
- Brain bucket or similar slang term
Choose the style you find most comfortable
Motorcycle helmets are available as half or three-quarter shells, modular, or full face. Of these, the full face provides the most overall protection, not just if you fall but whenever you go for a ride. The full-face visor shields your eyes from any debris that might blow into them while also protecting your nose and mouth from intrusion by dust, dirt, sand, and other particulates that would otherwise cause discomfort. Look for a visor that is plastic and resistant to shattering or puncturing, locks into place securely, and gives you enough room to also wear glasses and breathe without fogging it up.
Don’t choose a second-hand helmet
Perhaps a friend or acquaintance has offered you a spare helmet they’re not using anymore. Or you might find a shop offering previously owned helmets. While they may seem like a good option financially, even the DOT-compliant options are not the best idea. Helmets suffer from wear-and-tear over time—padding thins and loosens, straps weaken and fray, and face shields get scratched and dinged. Also, you might wind up with a helmet that was worn during a previous crash, which should never be used again. It might have hard to see but still dangerous cracks, and if you do wind up in an accident, the helmet could fail when you need it most. Do yourself a favor and invest in a brand-new helmet for safety’s sake.
Los Angeles motorcycle accident injury lawyer
Wearing a helmet every time you go out for a ride is a legal requirement for all motorcyclists and their passengers. Even more importantly, making a good choice when it comes to the make, model, style, and compliance of your helmet is vital to keeping yourself safe. Sadly, no equipment provides a 100 percent guarantee that you won’t suffer significant injuries if you crash. Los Angeles motorcycle crash attorney Scott J. Corwin is standing by if you need help seeking just compensation for your injuries and losses at 866-477-1011.