Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating, and safety measures have significantly evolved over the past few years. A helmet is one of the most essential safety measures for any motorcyclist as it protects the head and brain, which are fragile parts of the body. However, some riders prioritize helmets that look good and complement their style, disregarding the safety they provide. Novelty motorcycle helmets offer aesthetic appeal but may impose significant health and legal implications on riders.


What are novelty helmets, and why are they unsafe?


“When we use the term ‘novelty helmet,’ we refer to helmets that don’t meet the safety standards set by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). These helmets are usually cheaper and more readily available than their DOT counterparts, but they don’t offer the same level of protection. Many novelty helmets are made from inexpensive materials and lack the ability to withstand impact.

Novelty helmets can be misleadingly marketed as ‘motorcycle helmets,’ particularly for new riders. These helmets may appear cool or stylish, but they are essentially just glorified hats. Unlike DOT helmets, novelty helmets lack a thick inner liner or a hard outer shell, both of which are vital components for head protection in the event of a crash.”


DOT-Approved Helmets Save Lives


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted numerous studies on motorcycle helmets and found that DOT-approved helmets are 37% more effective at preventing fatalities in motorcycle accidents. This effectiveness stems from DOT-approved helmets being designed to meet or exceed strict safety standards and provide maximum protection in the event of an accident. In contrast, novelty helmets often offer little to no protection in crashes and are often simply used as fashion statements.


Avoid Potential Health and Legal Consequences; Wear a DOT-Approved Helmet


Choosing a safe helmet is of utmost importance. Apart from providing obvious safety benefits, riders should carefully consider factors such as fit, functionality, and performance. Only then can they ensure adequate protection while on the road. Certified helmets are designed to fit comfortably, provide optimum protection against potential impact, ensure proper ventilation, and come equipped with DOT-approved shields for eye protection. Always prioritize choosing an effective and safe helmet as a motorcyclist.


Novelty Motorcycle Helmets and Safety Issues


Non-certified novelty helmets fail to meet requirements for maximum protection. They miss crucial features like impact-absorbing layers, proper ventilation, and adequate head coverage. Thin shells embellished with spikes, Mohawks, and other decorative attachments are prone to detachment during accidents, potentially causing preventable traumatic head injuries. Certified helmets offer a safer alternative.


Legal Issues with Novelty Helmets


Many states have laws that make it illegal to operate a motorcycle without an approved and certified helmet. Motorists caught riding with a novelty-type helmet can receive tickets, fines, or even have their operating privileges revoked. This is because these helmets do not meet the safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In essence, riders who opt to wear novelty helmets not only put themselves at risk but also run the risk of breaking the law.


Ohio Motorcycle Helmet Laws


The helmet law in Ohio requires all motorcycle riders to wear helmets that comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 218. This means you must wear a helmet that meets a nationally recognized standard. Although novelty helmets are not explicitly banned in Ohio, the statute clearly states that riders can only use helmets that comply with the FMVSS standard. Wearing a novelty helmet in Ohio can result in a $75 fine.


Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Laws


When it comes to wearing helmets, Michigan has stricter laws. All motorcyclists in the state are required to use helmets that meet the FMVSS 218. In 2012, the use of novelty helmets was banned. Michigan State Police (MSP) warns that riders who wear such helmets risk receiving a civil infraction ticket, which carries a fine of $120.


Get the Legal Support you Need if Injured in an Accident.


When choosing your motorcycle helmet, do you prioritize style over substance? Remember that helmets add coolness to your ride and primarily ensure your safety. At the Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault law firm, we firmly believe that safety should always be your utmost concern. Nevertheless, accidents can occur, and if you sustain injuries in a motorcycle accident, you have the right to seek damages. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to assist Ohio and Michigan residents in recovering compensation for their injuries. Don’t jeopardize your safety with a stylish helmet. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 419-843-6663 or filling out our online contact form.