If you own a motorcycle or if you ride on one on occasion, you may find yourself wondering about what steps you can take to improve your safety. The basic rules that apply to all drivers apply to motorists so those are a good place to start: obey all traffic signals, yield the right-of-way, and make sure you obey speed limits. However, unlike drivers or passengers in cars, another big step can be taken by bikers to improve their safety, and that is wearing an appropriate helmet.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that motorcycle helmets are about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries and about 37 percent effective in preventing death when they are used properly and a biker is involved in a crash. But despite these significant numbers, only about 60 percent of riders across the country wear helmets that are compliant with Department of Transportation guidelines, and the number of riders in Arizona using approved helmets is believed to be much lower.
If you are going to ride a motorcycle, experts strongly suggest that you wear a helmet to reduce your risk of serious injury or even death is a motorcycle accident happens to you.
First, know that the federal Department of Transportation has minimum safety standards for motorcycle helmets that it reviews. If a helmet is approved, it will be marked with a sticker indicating it is DOT complaint. When buying a motorcycle helmet, only buy a helmet that complies with DOT regulations and avoid any that do not, including vintage or after market helmets. Some non-compliant helmets are designed for aesthetic purposes and may not provide any safety or cushion to the rider’s head in the event of an impact, and those helmets should always be avoided.
Next, make sure you buy a helmet with a proper fit. The best way to do this is by trying on the helmet and seeing whether it is the right size and shape for your particular head. Place the helmet on your head and adjust the straps as indicated by the helmet’s manufacturer. Then, grasp the back of the helmet at the base, just above your neck, and try to roll the helmet forward and off your head. If the helmet rolls off or moves forward drastically, it is too big for your head and you should select a smaller size. If the helmet stays in place and feels snug, it is probably the correct size for you.
The more encompassing a helmet is, the greater safety advantage it will provide. This means that you should select a full helmet that also provides chin and face protection through the use of a chin bar and a face shield. Even if you prefer the open air feel of a lesser helmet, opt for the safer version with the greater coverage. As long as the helmet is DOT complaint and it fits you properly, it will not block or limit your view, even with a face shield present.
Finally, make sure the helmet is comfortable enough for you to wear. If you are uncomfortable in a helmet, odds are that you will not wear it when riding and therefore the helmet will not do you any good.
Even if you wear a helmet, you may still be injured in a motorcycle accident in Phoenix. If that happens, know that the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and to offer you a case consultation. There is no fee and no obligation on your part for receiving the case consultation and you can reach us toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191.
If an accident has affected your life, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today to learn whether you are entitled to payment for your damages.
Prior Blog Entry:
Risks Faced by Kids who Ride Bikes in Phoenix, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published January 12, 2016.