In a recent blog, we gave some great advice for motorcyclists on the best protective gear for riding. This time, we’ll look a little more closely at the most important piece of gear you should own: your helmet.
Helmet Laws. First, if you’re planning a road trip this summer, remember that states have various laws regulating helmet use. Twenty-seven states have laws on the books that require only riders of a certain age (typically minors) to wear them. Twenty other states – including Virginia and North Carolina – require helmets for all riders. The only three states that don’t regulate helmet use at all are Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has information on the specifics of each state’s laws.
Helmet Construction. According to a University of Southern California study, the helmet is the number one most important factor for survival of a motorcycle crash. The Federal Vehicle Motor Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 sets the minimum level of protection that motorcycle helmets sold in the U.S. must meet (also known as the DOT Standard). DOT certifications are based on several criteria, but most importantly, impact absorption.
The Snell Foundation is an independent organization that tests helmets submitted by manufacturers and issues its own certifications. Submission of helmets is voluntary but the Snell standard is even higher than the DOT standard, providing even more protection. Any Snell certified helmet meets and exceeds DOT requirements, so these are the typically the safest helmets available.
So make sure you have the right equipment and be careful out there. And don’t forget, if you need motorcycle insurance in North Carolina or Virginia, Insurance Doctor is here to help.