How Safe Is Your Motorcycle Helmet?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It should be a simple enough requirement-wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle because it will significantly reduce the risks of suffering a serious or fatal traumatic brain injury during an accident.  Unfortunately, motorcyclists either refuse to wear helmets because of the comfort factor, or as Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers sometimes see, wear unapproved, non-federally certified helmets that do nothing to prevent brain injury during a crash.

The California Highway Patrol says that many motorcycle accident fatalities can be traced to helmet failure when a motorcyclist is not wearing a sturdy helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation.  You can determine whether your helmet has been approved by the DOT by looking for a sticker that is located at the back of the helmet. 

Unfortunately, helmet use isn't as pervasive in the motorcycle fraternity as Los Angeles brain injury attorneys would prefer.  Many motorcyclists find them too cumbersome, and believe they block vision and reduce hearing.  Others prefer the freedom that comes with wearing a novelty helmet that does not cover the face completely.  These novelty helmets also do not come with an inner lining, and are simply not believed to be as sturdy as federal certified helmets.  A motorcyclist wearing these helmets will find no protection from devastating full frontal facial injuries, with possibly fatal consequences.

However, many motorcyclists have their doubts about the testing that DOT-approved helmets are put to. For these motorcyclists, there are other private agencies that conduct helmet testing.  For instance, the Snell Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Sacramento, conducts independent testing of helmets.  The organization tests and certifies more than 3,500 helmets, and includes a number of impact tests, including face shield and chinstrap tests.  The results are posted online.  The Snell Memorial Foundation says it has a highly stringent testing process, and only those helmets that pass each and every single test make the cut.


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