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When should I replace my motorcycle helmet?

According to the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle helmets can prevent 67 percent of head injuries and 37 percent of deaths from Wisconsin motorcycle accidents. The NHTSA and other safety agencies advise that every motorcyclist invest in a helmet, whether or not state law requires it.

But, how do you know when it’s time to replace that helmet?

  • Always replace your helmet after a significant motorcycle crash. Helmets work by absorbing the force of the accident so it is not transferred to your head. That means that the shock-absorbing materials inside the helmet sustain damage. Helmets are designed to protect your head during a single impact; after that impact they are no longer effective.

Helmets are expensive, but your insurance may cover the cost. In addition, many helmet companies offer free inspections and will repair or replace the helmet at a reduced cost ——or no cost!

  • Replace your helmet if it does not meet current safety standards. All helmets should meet the Department of Transportation’s FMVSS 218 requirements. Helmets that meet these requirements have a DOT sticker. If your helmet does not have a DOT sticker, it may not offer adequate protection in the event of a Wausau motorcycle accident.
  • Replace your helmet if it has any visible damage. Helmets go through a lot even if they aren’t involved in a crash. Check your helmet periodically and look for signs of damage. If there is any damage to the foam—even tiny cracks—you should replace your helmet immediately.
  • Replace your helmet every five years. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can degrade over time. The Snell Foundation and helmet manufacturers suggest that helmets be replaced about every five years.

If you have additional questions about motorcycle safety or your rights after a Wausau motorcycle crash, contact the Wausau motorcycle attorneys at Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 or request a free copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham