Riding a motorcycle in any shape or form has a rush to it that’s hard to beat by doing anything else, hands down. That being said, there is also a lot of risk to riding the open road, and for some riders out there, wearing a motorcycle helmet is considered to be optional. What any serious biker will tell you, however, is that it is critical. It’s hard to always get behind the idea of wearing a cumbersome helmet, but it really is something to consider for your own safety. There are a lot of rules and regulations with the best motorcycle helmets on the market, and they’re there to keep you safe. Here are some things to keep in mind when hunting for the perfect market:
1 Make sure it’s for the right purpose
When you’re looking at purchasing a motorcycle helmet, it should be simple enough to understand that you need to look for helmets that are, in fact, intended specifically for motorcycles, but it needs to be said. You need to look for standards such as AS1698, UNECE 22.05, DOT, Snell or BSI. These are all certifications that will guarantee increased safety for motorcyclists when on the road. Make sure you choose a helmet that has the certifications you need.
2 Understand where European helmets can be worn
One of the biggest issues that newbie motorcyclists have is the difference between European and American helmets – and their certifications. Understand where you can wear different kinds of helmets, in terms of your country, but also your state/territory laws as well. Know that the one you are purchasing is legal and approved in all levels of law where you are planning to drive.
3 What stickers should I have?
You need to know what stickers should be on the outside of your helmet, where they should be placed, and which ones you need to worry about having in the first place. This is important to making sure that you don’t get in legal trouble down the line.
4 Can I attach things to my helmet?
This is a highly debatable topic that is constantly changing and updating. The general rule of thumb is that anything that has to be drilled or clamped onto your helmet is not okay, because it counts as modification and could demean the life of your helmet. Most things that stick on, however, are said to be okay in terms of chargeable legal issues.
5 Is painting or adding stickers to my helmet okay?
This often seen as a grey area in a lot of states and territories. While add-ons that don’t impact the surface of the helmet are often seen as okay in terms of safety and lifespan of the helmet, be aware that some police or other law officials may tell you that they do count as modifications.
6 Know your helmet’s lifespan
There is no legal time limit for having to replace your helmet in terms of the law, but you should make sure that you know the safety and guarantee of your helmet when you purchase it, as replacing it in a timely manner is important. The only law that you have to worry about legally speaking, is if you are wearing a helmet that is clearly damaged or compromised, and this is for safety reasons.
7 How “optional” is the chin strap?
Not! This is a critical piece of your helmet that keeps it on your head so that you are safe in a crash. If a police officer stops you and you have the chin strap unbuckled, this is a serious offence and will get you into a lot of trouble with the law. It’s also very dangerous and you should always make sure that you’re wearing your chin strap.
8 What to know about HUD
Since this is relatively new technology, there are no legal helmets that have been built with this add on built into it. There are no laws about adding it to the helmet after the fact, either, so it simply depends on who stops you and what the issue is. Many see HUD as a potential distraction for drivers.
9 What’s the law on tinted visors/goggles?
Tinted goggles are find to be worn with those helmets that are designed to fit with goggles, but tinted visors is still something that is being figured out in the legal world. There are certain ratios to follow and rules to look at when it comes to tinting, but police have been known for taking drivers off of the road for wearing tinte visors that even fall within the legal limits. These cases were never tried, but these sorts of things are still happening and have been causing problems with a lot of drivers out there that feel that tinted visors are the safest option.
10 Know your rights
This is the biggest thing when you are taking hold over the open road and you’re looking to make sure that you are okay – know what’s okay and what’s not, and carry proof of the laws with you everywhere you go. This will show any police officer who stops you that you know what you’re doing and that you are keeping up to date on the laws. It’ll protect you from a ticket, and it’ll also make sure that you are safe, too, which is why laws exist, after all.
When you choose the right motorcycle helmet and you’re ready to hit the road, there is always a risk. But, choosing the right helmet and making sure that you know the associated laws will help you keep the risk to a minimum so that you can get back to enjoying your ride and enjoying the fresh air and all of the amazing perks that come with a motorcycle. All of this and knowing that your safety is properly protected to give you a memory to share. It’s worth a lot more than you think right now.