The evidence is overwhelming; studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have found that wearing a helmet can save your life. As it has been stated in earlier articles, many Florida riders are not required to wear a helmet, however, if you are riding your bike out of state you may need to wear a helmet. Since Florida repealed its law requiring all riders to wear a helmet, fatalities among motorcycle riders have spiked. The category that is the most alarming is the number of riders who die while not wearing helmet (more information can be found by clicking here).

With this information in mind, it is highly recommended that you wear a helmet while riding. However, not all helmets are suited to protect you to the fullest, all helmets that are safe for use in the United States must States meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 as set fourth by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Here are some tips to help you spot a safe helmet: (full compliment of information found here: Unsafe Helmets).

First and Foremost:

  • Look for a U.S. DOT sticker. All helmets that meet or exceed the federal guidelines a will have one. (A Note of Caution: DOT stickers can be purchased separately and placed on non-compliant helmets, these helmets do not meet the federal guidelines).
  • A SNELL or ANSI Label- These non-profit organizations have tasked themselves with testing helmets. A SNELL or ANSI sticker on a helmet means that it has also met the guidelines of these organizations. (According to the NHTSA these labels have yet to be counterfeited, thus they can be a good indicator that is safe for the road).

Secondary Considerations:

  • Look for A Thick Inner Liner – a safe helmet will have about one inch of firm polystyrene foam.
  • A Sturdy Chin Strap and Rivets- A safe helmet will have a sturdy chinstrap and solid rivets that meet DOT standards.
  • A Hefty Feel- A safe helmet will weigh somewhere in the range of three pounds.
  • Design and Style- According to the NHTSA, the DOT standards do not allow anything to protrude further than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet’s surface. So that German Army Spike is a no go.