Choosing a Helmet: The Importance of Correct Motorcycle Helmet Fit and Buying New

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, motorcycle helmets saved the lives of over 1,600 bikers in 2013 alone. It is important to note that not all helmets are equal; only buy new, Department of Transportation-approved helmets. You also need to ensure correct motorcycle helmet fit before making a purchase.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines help identify scientifically approved helmets, but there are many other factors to look at when picking a motorcycle helmet.

Picking the Right Helmet for You

After you have confirmed your helmet choice is DOT-approved (check for a sticker or label), the next step is to check for correct fit. The NHTSA provides a list of features to check for when purchasing a helmet:

Thick Inner Liner

The inner liner of a safe helmet should be firm, polystyrene foam. The minimum thickness requirement is usually one inch. The liner should cover the entire inside of the helmet, not just the very top. The liner should fit snugly against your head.

Sturdy Chinstraps

Once you have ensured the helmet is sitting squarely on the top of your head, fasten the chinstraps and check the following:

  • The cheek pads touch your cheeks comfortably.
  • There is no gap between your temple and brow pads. It may feel tight but this means it fits correctly.
  • The neck roll (if present) should not push the helmet base away from the back of your neck.
  • The helmet or face shield of a full-face helmet should never touch your nose or chin on full-face helmets, even when pressing on the chin piece.

Sturdy chinstraps prevent the risk of your helmet coming off in a crash, and good rivets keep the strap from separating from the helmet. Wiggle the helmet up and down and side to side with your hands. Your scalp should move along with the helmet. If the helmet moves independently from your skin, it is not secure.

Weight and Style

Most DOT-approved helmets weigh three pounds while unsafe helmets weigh much less. It is tempting to pick the coolest helmet with fun accessories like mohawks, but you should never put fashion before safety. No part of your helmet should extend further than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet’s surface.

Beware of Used or Modified Helmets

A motorcycle helmet that has already been in a crash will not offer you the same protection as an undamaged helmet. The protective lining in your helmet compresses with use over time, especially if the helmet hits anything. Buying a used helmet is a gamble on your safety.

Do not ever alter the interior lining or chin straps of your helmet for comfort. If the helmet fits too tightly in some areas, try a different helmet, do not attempt to cut foam away to increase comfort. There are many helmets out there, and one will eventually feel just right.

Note: Never buy a novelty helmet as the NHTSA says they are basically useless in a crash

Remember to always wear a helmet and always follow Ohio motorcycle laws when riding. If you suffered serious injury in a motorcycle accident, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault are here to help you seek compensation for your injuries.

Contact our office today to set up a free consultation: 419-843-6663.