Helmets can be termed as the most important riding gear. It is a life saver in case of an accident, as it gives protection to your head. Many professional riders are still alive because they had worn helmets, on unfortunate days. If you want to ride safe, a motorcycle helmet is essential.
You might have heard about instances where a person was wearing a helmet when he met with an accident, but still he got fatal injuries on his head. This may be due to the severity of the accident or because he was wearing the wrong helmet! Choosing the wrong helmet may do you more damage in an accident, so choosing the right helmet is as important as choosing your motorcycle.
Tips to Choose a Motorcycle Helmet
An important point to mention before I start here is that, helmets do not guarantee prevention of head injury in case of a severe accident, but they do reduce the intensity of the impact, and minimizing the intensity may just save your life, and this is why wearing a helmet is recommended. You should take into consideration the following points when you choose a helmet:
A crucial criteria in choosing the right helmet is the, right size. Make sure that the helmet is not too big. A loose helmet will definitely flip over your head in case of an accident. Here is a way to make sure that the helmet has the appropriate size, wear the helmet, and fasten the chin strap, then try rolling the helmet over your head, if you cannot roll it over, the size is perfect, else try another size. You can easily identify a helmet which has a smaller size than what you require, you cannot wear it easily. So, in such a case, opt for a larger size.
You might be wondering that, if you have the right size, then you will probably have the right fit. Well, by fit, I refer to comfort. Your helmet's inner liner should be snug, and it should touch your cheek bone. It should not be pressing against your ears, so as to inhibit your hearing to an extent where you cannot figure out if someone is honking right behind you! Before you buy the helmet, wear it for five minutes, after that, if any redness is visible on your forehead or cheeks, or you experience any soreness, ask for a replacement.
There are 4 major types of helmets available, full-face, three-quarter, flip-up, and beanies. A full face helmet provides the maximum protection as it covers your chin too. A three-quarter helmet does not have the chin guard, whereas the flip-up helmet has the features of both, a full-face and the three-quarter helmet. Generally beanies are preferred by cruiser bike enthusiasts, they are half helmets which only protect the top of your head.
All the types of the helmets are generally made of fiberglass, helmets made from Kevlar are more expensive. Personally, I would recommend you to go for a full-face helmet with a good visor. When you choose a full-face helmet, wear it and press the chin guard and visor against your face, if they touch your face, then you should go for another helmet, as this contact would cause discomfort, when you ride your bike.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 should be met by all the helmets sold in the United States. This is made compulsory by the Department of Transportation (DOT), thus every genuine helmet has a DOT certification. Along with a DOT certificate, your helmet can also have Snell or American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certification. Before buying the helmet, do check for the DOT label, if not found, then the helmet is not safe. Beware of the helmets which have imitation of the DOT label!
Go for a bright colored helmet, this will help any incoming traffic to spot you better, and do not buy a helmet without a good chin strap and ventilation. Invest in your helmet, do not go for the cheap ones, which do not conform to any safety norms. Be a smart shopper, you can get a good helmet within $100, but if you want to splurge, then you can find helmets which cost more than $500! Change your helmet within a few years, since the inner padding will compress with time, and do not ever buy a used helmet.