May is motorcycle awareness month, and our goal is to educate motorcyclists and drivers on how to share the road. The amount of fatalities from motorcycle accidents are showing to be decreasing. This is good thing, but much more needs to be done. In 2014 there were 4,586 motorcyclists killed in crashes and 88,000 injured. These numbers can be lowered by motorcyclists following safe riding practices. This starts with always wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
Motorcyclists should wear helmets that surround their entire head, not just the top. Riders who wear a helmet that is deemed safe by the Depart Of Transportation have a 29% better chance of surviving a crash.
Choosing a helmet that is safe is crucial. There are seven main things to look for when choosing a motorcycle helmet according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Thick Inner Liner
- The inner liner should be about one-inch thick of firm polystyrene
- Sturdy Chin Strap and Rivets
- Weight Of Helmet
- Safe helmets should weigh about three pounds to comply with the Federal safety standard.
- Design of Helmet
- Nothing should extend from the helmet that is more than two-tenths of an inch from the surface of the helmet, such as a spike. Usually full-face design helmets are a good sign of a safe helmet but should still be checked.
- DOT Sticker
- Safe motorcycle helmets should have a sticker on the back, outside that reads “DOT”, and should not be sold separately to put on to a helmet as that would not be real.
- Snell or ANSI Label
- A Snell or ANSI label would show that the helmet meets the standards of private, non-profit organizations that are a good indicator of safety.
- Manufacturer’s Labeling
- Manufacturer’s label showing their name, the model, size, month and year of manufacture, construction materials and owner’s information.
According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey, in 2015, 64% of riders wearing motorcycle helmets are using DOT-compliant helmets. While this is promising, ideally that figure should be 100%. If you are a motorcyclist, please protect yourself by wearing a safe helmet. Do not be another statistic that plagues the reputation of motorcycle riders.