Before you purchase your new motorcycle helmet, follow these tips to ensure you are getting the right helmet for you.

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Motorcyle Accidents

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How to Identify Unsafe Motorcycle Helmets

Andrew Kim
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Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Wrongful Death and Catastrofic Injuries Attorney
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published this brochure about how to identify an unsafe motorcycle helmet.  Here is what to check for before you purchase your next motorcycle helmet:

Thick Inner Lining
Helmets should have about 1-inch of firm polystyrene foam.  It may not be visible, but you should be able to feel the thickness.  If the helmet only contains soft foam padding or no padding at all, then it is a unsafe helmet.

Sturdy Chin Strap and Rivets
The DOT safety standard includes strong chinstraps and secure rivets.

Weight of Helmet
An unsafe helmet will weigh a pound or less.  Your safe helmet should be around three pounds.

Design/Style of Helmet
An unsafe helmet will have any protruding attachments/decorations that will extend further than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet's surface (with the exception of visor attachments).

DOT Sticker
A helmet that meets or exceeds the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 will have a DOT sticker on the outside back of the helmet.  Beware of novelty helmets sales, which may sell DOT stickers separately.  In this case, the DOT sticker is invalid.

Snell or ANSI Label
Private and/or non-profit organizations such as Snell or ANSI will place labels on the inside of the helmet, stating the helmet meets their safety standards.  In addition to the DOT stickers, these are good indicators that the helmet meets all required safety standards.

Manufacturer's Labeling
Under the FMVSS 218, manufacturers are required to label their helmets with their name, the model, the size and the month/year of manufacture.  It must also state the construction materials and space for the owner to list their information.


illustration of unsafe motorcycle helmet interior


illustration of safe motorcycle helmet interior

If you need an motorcycle accident attorney, call the Andrew Kim Law Firm. Our office features a personal injury attorney who is experienced in several different types of Washington personal injury claims, and will help with your need of a Bellevue car accident attorney, Tacoma wrongful death attorney or a Seattle boat accident attorney.  Call us at (425) 289-1990, (253) 682-2000 or (800) 636-3676.