Tips on choosing the right motorcycle helmet for you

motorcycle rider holding helmetMotorcycle riding can be an extremely dangerous activity if riders do not take proper safety precautions. Due the shockingly high number of motorcycle fatalities across the United States each year, the first thing you should do after getting a motorcycle is purchase a helmet to reduce your risk of death in the event of an accident. Read on for some tips on choosing a motorcycle accident that is right for you.

How do I find the right fit?

You could have the safest helmet on the market, but if it does not fit properly, even the best helmet will be completely useless in a crash. This is because if a helmet can slide off or wiggle around on its own, the force of an impact from a crash will surely knock the helmet out of place, exposing your head to serious injury or death.

To make sure you have a perfect fit, follow these simple steps:

  1. Use a tape measure. Measure around the biggest part of your head, which is just above your eyebrows.
  2. Once you have a number, search for this size helmet. If you are in between sizes, try on both sizes and choose the helmet which is tight but does not place too much pressure on your head.
  3. When trying on your helmet, make sure it fits squarely on your head and does not tilt in any direction.
  4. Pay attention to the cheek pads. They should touch your cheeks without causing any discomfort.
  5. There should not be any gaps between your temples and the brow pads of the helmet. 

After testing the helmet for proper fit, wear it around the store for an extended period of time to make sure there are no unexpected discomforts before making your purchase. 

Are novelty helmets a good idea?

Finding a safe helmet is just as important as finding the proper fit. Though many people believe that the more expensive the helmet, the better it works, this could not be any further from the truth.

Novelty helmets, known for their flashy details and typically available for purchase on the Internet, are utterly useless in the event of a crash.

The NHTSA has stated that if you get into an accident while wearing a novelty helmet, there is a “100 percent probability of brain injuries and skull fracture, indicating that the person wearing the helmet will sustain fatal head injuries.”

If you value your life — or at the very least, your brain — do NOT wear a novelty helmet. Make sure the helmet you choose meets Department of Transportation (DOT) or Snell Foundation standards. Both DOT and Snell-approved helmets will have labels or stickers to clearly indicate a safe helmet. 

For more information about motorcycle safety, check out our library.