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Tips for Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet

I remember getting the opportunity to ride on the back of my grandpa’s motorcycle for the first time as a child. Traveling quickly and close to the ground without any walls or doors was such an exhilarating experience! I also remember the helmet that squished my cheeks right into my nose and eyes. At the time, I just giggled because I felt like a chipmunk, but now I understand better. That helmet was not suitable for the size of my head (which has always been pretty large) and wouldn’t have protected me as well in an accident.

Motorcycle helmets come in many different shapes and sizes because everyone has a unique noggin. Whether you like to hit the road with a sport bike or cruiser, scooter or moped; taking care of the most delicate part of your body is an essential part of preparation and safety. Here’s a list of four things to consider when purchasing a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet:

But wait, what’s a DOT approved helmet?

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified helmets are designed to protect the head during most types of motorcycle crash impacts. Helmets are tested under conditions that stimulate a moderate impact at up to 250 times the force of gravity and those that are DOT certified are designed to absorb the force of the crash rather than resisting the impact.

  1. Type of bikeAdventure touring? Cruiser? Sport bike? Generally, adventure bikers prefer using modular helmets which allow you to raise the face shield, while cruiser riders enjoy a half-shell helmet and sport bike riders like a full-face helmet that will provide great all-around protection.
  2. Size/Shape of headThere’s more to a helmet than just one that can slide onto your head! Check out this resource from NHTSA for an in-depth description on how to determine your head shape, size, and preference.
  3. Helmet featuresIt’s important to find a properly fitted helmet so the three to four pounds of weight are distributed evenly around your head and shoulders to reduce neck strain. Consider also whether you would like additional features like integrated sunshade, wind reduction, and communication technology.
  4. PriceHow much are you willing to pay? Generally speaking, price does not necessarily reflect quality or safety, but rather the materials used and the number of features. Good helmets can range anywhere between $40 and $900, so make sure you budget accordingly.

No matter what helmet you decide to wear, make sure you are wearing one, because your safety is number one!