Be Aware: Not All Motorcycle Helmets are Designed for Safety

If you choose to ride a motorcycle in the Phoenix area, you are also faced with additional decisions. When, where, and how you should ride are among those choices that motorcyclists must make, but one of the most basic questions that crosses every rider’s path is whether to wear a helmet.

Experts strongly advise all motorcyclists to wear helmets each and every time they ride. By wearing a helmet, bikers will significantly reduce their risks of head and brain injuries and will even reduce their risks of death in the event that a motorcycle accident occurs. If you have made the decision to wear a helmet, know that you are on the right track towards ensuring your own safety but that if you pick the wrong helmet, you will not do yourself any favors.

Recent years have seen an increase in the production, marketing, and purchasing of so-called “novelty helmets,” a type of helmet designed to look good but not designed to meet the optimal safety standards. Even among bikers, many of these helmets are known to be useless when it comes to protecting a head to the point that some are commonly referred to as “brain buckets,” a phrase that indicates a lack of safety, a lack of a face shield, and overall a helmet that may look good but that does not provide much, if any, protection.

Faced with increasing incidents involving bike collisions and novelty helmets, the U.S. Department of Transportation, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, issued new proposed regulations last year to add a definition to current DOT guidelines related to helmets so that novelty helmets and other devices that do not provide DOT-level safety can be readily identified. The rules are believed to help law enforcement officials quickly and efficiently review standards, including the thickness of the padding inside helmets, to determine what safety the helmets provide, enabling them to better assist riders. It is also expected to help officials review a helmet’s ability to resist deformation when force is applied to its surface, an indication of how well the helmet will stand up to an impact in the event of a crash.

Helmets that meet DOT standards can bear a sticker to that effect but that does not guarantee a consumer will be presented with the right information. Unfortunately, counterfeiting the DOT stickers and placing them on novelty helmets have been an issue, leading some riders to buy helmets that they thought were safe but in reality were far from it. Updated regulations may help with mislabeling issues so that consumers cannot be misled as easily.

In the meantime, if you plan to purchase a new motorcycle helmet, do so from a reputable distributor so that you can rest assured that the helmets labeled as DOT compliant are, in fact, qualified to bear that sticker. Opt for a full helmet with a face mask and chin/jaw guard to provide you with maximum protection in the event that a motorcycle accident happens and that you have the misfortune to be involved.

If a motorcycle accident has left you hurt or claimed the life of someone you love, call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a case consultation without cost or obligation. We can be reached 24/7 toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191 and we will keep everything discussed confidential.

Prior Blog Entry:

U.S. Government Says Hoverboards are Unsafe, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published March 3, 2016.


DOT takes action to address unsafe motorcycle helmets, by Gordon Trowbridge, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, published May 20, 2015.