Articles Tagged with “motorcycle helmets”

motorcycle-helmet-180.jpgFor motorcyclists, the most effective way to prevent a brain injury is to wear a helmet. An unhelmeted motorcyclist is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a motorcycle crash than one wearing a helmet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In Massachusetts and 19 other states, wearing a motorcycle helmet is the law for all riders. Twenty eight other states have laws requiring certain motorcyclists wear helmets. Three states, including New Hampshire, do not require motorcycle helmets for any riders.

Helmet use has grown in recent years as safety education has increased and manufacturers produce lighter-weight helmets. Helmet use increased from 48 percent of U.S. motorcyclists in 2005 to 67 percent in 2009, according to the NHTSA.

If you are a motorcyclist, it is important to protect yourself from motorcycle accidents as well as comply with the law. Our Boston motorcycle accident lawyers share some background information and tips for purchasing your motorcycle helmet:

Types of Helmets. Be sure to buy a helmet which is specifically designed for motorcycling. You may use different helmets for other activities, but these do not provide adequate protection in case of a motorcycle accident.

There are three types of helmets: full-face helmets; three-quarter, open-face helmets and “shorty” half helmets. A full-face helmet covers your entire face and provides the most protection. It has a moveable face shield which protects your eyes from debris and face in a motorcycle accident.

A three-quarter, open-face helmet has many of the same features, minus the face and chin protection of a full-face helmet. If you use an open-face helmet, it is recommended you also use a snap-on face shield or a pair of safety goggles when you ride.

The last type of helmet, a “shorty” half-helmet is not recommended by most safety organizations. It protects very little of your head and is the most likely to come off when you ride.

Safety Ratings. Since 1980, all adult-sized helmets for highway use have been required to meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. Make sure your helmet has a DOT sticker before you purchase. The Snell Memorial Foundation is another safety testing laboratory for motorcycle helmets, though this rating is voluntary for helmet manufacturers.

Helmet Size. Most helmets are marked small, medium, large or extra large. Fit is important so measure your head at the largest circumference and contact your manufacturer to ask what size that measurement fits.

The goal is to avoid buying a helmet which is too large and can fall off. Here are a few things to note. The cheek pads should touch your cheeks without pressing uncomfortably. On full-face helmets, press on the chin piece. The helmet or face shield should not touch your nose or chin. There should be no gaps between your temples and brow pads. If the helmet has a neck roll, it should not push the helmet away from the back of your neck.

Replacing and Caring for Helmets. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for caring for your helmet. It is best to use mild soap, water and a soft cloth. Avoid any petroleum-based cleaning fluid, which can cause the helmet to decompose over time.

Replace your helmet if the face shield is scratched as this will obstruct your view when riding. You should also replace your helmet if you’re involved in a motorcycle crash or if you notice any damage. Otherwise, many manufacturers recommend replacing your motorcycle helmet every two years.

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motorcycle rider.jpgMotorcycling is a fun way to pass a sunny afternoon, but one that requires taking some safety precautions. Motorcyclist deaths have been rising in recent years – more than doubling in 2008 from the record low in 1977. The federal government estimates that per mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles in 2007 was 37 times the number of people in cars.

These figures mean it is important to dress to protect yourself in case of motorcycle accidents.

Helmets: Helmets are especially important. They are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures.

Twenty states and Washington D.C. require all riders to wear motorcycle helmets, including Massachusetts and Vermont. New Hampshire has no motorcycle helmet law. Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut have laws that require younger operators to wear helmets.

If you are looking for a helmet, look for one that meets Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. All adult-sized helmets have been required to meet these standards since 1980. Helmets may be additionally approved by the Snell Memorial Foundation, but this testing standard is voluntary for helmet manufacturers.

There are several types of helmets available on the market, but full-face helmets provide the most protection in case of motorcycle accidents. Other types of helmets include open-face helmets and “shorty” half-helmets. If you choose an open-face helmet, make sure to buy a pair of safety eyeglasses. Shorty half-helmets are generally not recommended because they leave a large area of your face and head exposed in motorcycle accidents.

Lastly, it’s important to make sure you choose the right size helmet. If a motorcycle dealer isn’t ordering your helmet for you, measure the largest part of your head with a tape measure and call the manufacturer. Most helmets are sold in small, medium, large or extra large, so tell the customer service representative your measurement and ask them what size helmet you need.

Clothing: When it comes to jackets and pants, choose the most sturdy materials for the most protection. Leather is considered the best, but denim and corduroy also work. If you worry about overheating, choose pants and vests with zippered vents. And remember, always wear gloves to protect your hands in case of a motorcycle accident or fall on the roadway.

Reflective Clothing: The more visible you are to other drivers, the better your chances are for avoiding a motorcycle accident. Wear brightly colored jackets and pants or reflective material that can be seen at all hours day or night.

Eye Protection: Many motorcyclists choose helmets with an approved shield covering their eyes. Others use separate safety goggles or shatterproof glasses. Make sure your eye protection is clean and unscratched each time before you start riding. If you use a tinted lens for the bright sun, be prepared. Take a clear lens as well in case your ride goes into the night.

Click here for more on state motorcycle helmet laws.

Click here for more information about motorcycle helmets and other safety gear from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
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