Motorcycle Helmets 101: How to Choose the Right Helmet for Your Needs

Sep 13, 2018 | Motorcycle Accidents, Safety Information

Arizona requires motorcyclists and passengers under age 18 to wear a helmet. A helmet, however, is a smart choice at any age. Purchasing a new helmet is essential: A used helmet may not protect you in a crash. It’s important to replace your helmet after any significant impact, as well.

Since many motorcycle helmet options are available, it helps to know a bit about helmets before choosing one. Here are several factors to consider when shopping for your motorcycle helmet.

1. Does it meet minimum safety standards?

When looking for a motorcycle helmet, check to make sure it meets minimum safety standards by looking for a DOT sticker. This sticker demonstrates that the helmet meets the U.S. Department of Transportation’s minimum requirement for motorcycle helmets. A certification from the Snell Memorial Foundation indicates that the helmet has passed Snell’s thorough testing system.

2. How much protection does it offer?

Motorcycle helmets come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, but nearly all helmets can be placed in one of three categories:

  • Full-face helmet. These helmets cover the entire head, including the face. Typically, they have a face shield that can be opened or closed. Arizona state law requires all motorcyclists to have eye protection, which is built-in on a full-face helmet.
  • Three-quarter or “open face” helmet. These helmets look similar to full-face helmets, but they do not include a face shield. Riders will need to add a face shield or wear goggles to ride wearing these helmets.
  • Half-helmet or “shorty.” These helmets cover only the top of the head, leaving the face and the sides and back of the head exposed. They’re not typically recommended for motorcyclists, but can be useful for bicyclists or skateboarders.

If you’re not sure which style you prefer, here is a short video of the different types

3. Does it fit correctly?

While trying on helmets for look and feel, you’ll also need to check that the helmet fits correctly. Since sizing varies from brand to brand, always try on a helmet before you buy it.

A correctly-fitting helmet will be slightly tight. It will touch most of your head and the sides of your face, but it won’t pinch or cause pain in any particular area. There should be no gaps between your cheeks and the cheek pads or between your temples and the brow pads. The face shield should not touch your nose or chin if you press in on the chin piece.

If you’re shopping online, measure all the way around your head across your forehead just above your eyebrows and above the ears. This is your “head circumference,” and it can be used to help determine whether a helmet you’re ordering will fit.

Motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle crash and you suspect someone else’s negligence is to blame, don’t wait: Call the Arizona motorcycle accident lawyers at the Folger Law Firm today. We’ll help you understand your options and fight for the compensation you deserve – and you won’t pay a fee unless you recover.