Motorcycle riding has always been about freedom and choice, and most everything that goes along with riding ties back to those two factors. When it comes to motorcycle gear, the riders are often left to decide what pieces of protection they want to use. Most states don’t require protective gear of any kind, but riders are free to choose the setup that works best for them and their preferences.
Should you choose to invest in protective motorcycle gear, it is very important that you ensure the legitimacy of the gear you’re looking to purchase. Knock-off and counterfeit equipment are a serious problem that poses a considerable threat to riders. Knowing what to look for in legitimate, high-quality motorcycle gear could save your life in certain situations, so it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the warning signs of phony helmets and other gear.
Generally speaking, if riders are looking for helmets to protect their heads while riding, they want to invest in a Department of Transportation-certified helmet. Helmets with the proper DOT certification can lower the risk of fatalities in motorcycle accidents by 37%. Often times, riders opt for more esthetically pleasing novelty helmets – such as German Army-style or skullcap-style helmets – without realizing that they provide little to no real protection.
Here’s a brief overview to help you understand the difference between DOT-certified helmets and novelty helmets:
- Thick Inner Liners: In most DOT-certified helmets, this inner liner consists of a 1-inch thick layer of polystyrene foam. It may not be visible, but you should be able to feel it as a firm, thick layer. Helmets with no padding or soft foam padding do not meet DOT standards.
- Straps: A DOT-certified helmet must have sturdy chinstraps with solid rivets. A helmet is not effective if it flies off in a motorcycle accident.
- Weight: A helmet that meets FMVSS 218 requirements weighs approximately three pounds. They feel more substantial than lighter weight novelty helmets.
- Spikes and Decorations: These are signs of a novelty helmet. DOT standards state that any attachments or decorations may not extend more than 0.2 inches from the helmet. A visor meets this standard -- Viking horns do not.
- Full-Face Design: This is usually a good sign that a helmet meets DOT certification. Full-face novelty helmets are rare.
- DOT Stickers: Helmets that meet proper standards have a “DOT” sticker on the outside back. This sticker is on all helmets that meet minimum government safety standards. The manufacturer must place the sticker on the helmet.
- Other Certifications: A good helmet may have other certifications, in addition to the “DOT” sticker. Other valid U.S. safety certifications include Snell or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards.
Safety is always a top priority for our firm and we encourage riders to take every necessary step to ensure their safety. However, it is impossible to control the actions of other motorists and accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys at Hupy and Abraham have the skills necessary to take on your case and win you the best possible reward. Please call us at 800-800-5678 or chat online 24/7 at hupy.com to start building your case.
For more relevant news and articles for bikers, please check out our Current News for Riders page on hupy.com.