California law requires motorcyclists and their passenger to wear helmets that meet federal safety standards. By wearing such a helmet, a motorcyclist avoids getting a ticket, a fine and potentially a serious injury. A helmetless motorcyclist involved in an accident is three times as likely to suffer a brain injury as a motorcyclist wearing a helmet. If you’re involved in an accident but not wearing a helmet, it may impact your legal claims against the responsible party.
A motorcycle helmet has four main components:
- Outer shell, which deflects and reduces the impact from the outside,
- Inner EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene, a high-tech Styrofoam) liner, which softens and absorbs the energy during a crash,
- Retention system, which can be a chin strap or something more complex, which helps keep the helmet on the rider’s head, and
- Comfort liner, a layer of soft fabric which adds to fit of the lid, enhances moisture wicking and provides a comfortable feel to the face and ears.
Helmets can be separated into five large categories: half helmets or brain caps, ¾ or open-face helmets, flip-up or modular helmets and no-face helmets. The brain caps are the least safe and the full-face helmets are the most secure.
The helmet is by far the most important piece of protective gear for a motorcyclist, so buying one that really shields your head is critical. Safety standards are all about function and have nothing to do with fashion. So whatever helmet you might choose, make sure you get one that complies with California law.
Getting a helmet that fits properly is essential for two reasons: a fit helmet (properly strapped) has very little chance of coming off in a crash and it ensures minimal movement of the head inside the EPS shell during the impact. Motorcycle helmets come in multiple sizes, usually starting with XS and ending up at 2XL. Some manufacturers also offer a choice in outer shell dimensions for an even better fit and a more accurate size-to-weight ratio. One of the best ways to zero in the right helmet is to first measure your head. This gives a preliminary hint as to which size you should be looking into. All manufacturers have sizing charts so you’ll have an easier time finding your helmet this way.
The internal padding must provide a snug fit over the head, face and ears without leaving empty spaces. If putting on a helmet requires too much effort try the next bigger size. After putting it on, adjust the strap and try to rotate your head while keeping the helmet in place with your hands. If you can see the inside of the ear pocket after this maneuver, the helmet is too big. If your skin moves slightly with the helmet, then you’re getting close.
For a good fit, you should not be able to insert a finger between your head or face and the liner. If you can do this easily you may want to look for another shape. If you’re getting a premium helmet, you might ask for different cheek pads.
Before you hit the road with your motorcycle, get the right helmet to protect yourself. We’d rather see happy, healthy motorcyclists on the road than severely injured ones in our office. However, if you are injured in an accident, contact us for a free consultation. Though a motorcyclist needs to protect him or herself as best as they can, accidents still happen.
The personal injury attorneys at the Weber & Nierenberg law firm are well-experienced in motorcycle accidents, as well as bus, truck, and pedestrian accident cases, and will work hard and competently to obtain complete compensation for your injuries and losses. Call 866-288-6010 today.