Motorcycles are more susceptible to catastrophic collisions than enclosed four-wheeled vehicles. Their smaller frame and two wheels offer less visibility and stability on the road. Thus, an essential countermeasure to potential injuries and deaths is for riders and passengers to wear safe helmets. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
California’s universal helmet law mandates all motorcyclists and passengers, regardless of age, to wear helmets. However, others still purchase noncompliant helmets. In worst cases, some do not wear protective headgear at all.
Thus, knowing how to identify an unsafe helmet can help riders avoid violations and keep the roads safe.
Watch out for these unsafe helmet signs
Every U.S. motorcycle must meet the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. It sets minimum performance levels on a helmet’s impact absorption, penetration resistance and chin strap system retention.
Failure to comply may lead to motorcycle injuries and fatalities. The state recorded 539 deaths in 2020, which was a 9.8% increase from 2019.
Thus, the authorities highlight the following factors to help recognize an unsafe helmet:
- Weight: A pound or less, which is lower than the three-pound requirement
- Thickness: Less than the prescribed 3/4-inch broadness, and may have a barely visible inner lining or do not have one altogether
- Buckle: Lack of well-built chin straps or rivets
- Label: Do not have a DOT certification at the back, as well as the manufacturer’s details and care instructions on or inside the gear
Depending on the area and circumstances, violators may have to pay fines. In some cases, an officer may cite an equipment violation. Further, severe situations may impact driving privileges.
Seek liability for helmet-related accidents
While riders must always check the products they buy, manufacturers or sellers may be partly at fault if their defective designs do not pass federal standards and directly hurt their consumers. As more people and complex issues become involved, affected parties can discuss how to address them with a legal team. Doing so can help secure a fair amount to pay for their losses. Soon enough, they can also return to safe and enjoyable rides.