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Motorcycle helmet requirements: what should you look for? (PART 1)

In our last post we discussed a couple of motorcycle laws that are specific to the state of New York. It’s important that all drivers understand these laws and obey them. Another important issue to consider for motorcyclists is the use of a helmet. In the state of New York, every motorcycle rider has to wear a helmet, no matter their age or experience level. While a helmet will not always help prevent injuries caused by a negligent driver, many lives are saved each year due to the use of motorcycle helmets.

Head injuries are the leading cause of death among motorcyclists who are involved in a crash. That’s why our state has specific laws pertaining to helmet use. The state does not want you to use just any helmet. The helmet needs to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. All motorcycle helmets sold in the Unites States are supposed to meet these standards. If you have ever seen a motorcycle rider wearing a helmet that doesn’t meet these standards, it’s usually because they bought a helmet that was sold as a novelty item, allowing it to circumvent these requirements. Riders mistakenly sometimes think these helmets will keep them safe.

You will know if a helmet meets FMVSS 218 standards if it has a DOT sticker on the back of it. Some sellers will provide these stickers with novelty helmets, but that does not make them compliant, so be aware of that. An even better indicator of safety is if the helmet has a sticker from a private, non-profit organization such as the American National Standards Institute or Snell. These organizations have their own standards for safety that will also meet the federal standards. These labels will usually be inside the helmet.

In our next post we will continue discussing what to look for when it comes to the proper motorcycle helmet.

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