Many feel that the helmet should be the #1 piece of safety equipment for the motorcycle rider. In my experience, that certainly seems to be true, and the helmet can be the difference between some scrapes and bruises with a scuffed helmet versus a serious head injury that has life-long consequences.
In Colorado, anyone 17 years old or younger is required by law to wear a helmet. Wyoming is the same. Some states require ALL riders to wear one, while a couple states have no helmet laws.
When someone asks me if I think they should wear a helmet when they ride, I ask them, “Well, if I’m going to clunk you up side the head with a cement block, do you want me to do that with or without a helmet?” Umm, yeah.
Some claim that nearly 2000 motorcyclists’ lives would be saved each year in the USA if everyone wore a helmet while riding.
Not all helmets are equal, however, and different standards have been created by different organizations, with helmet certifications now by DOT, Snell, and ECE. These three organizations test helmets differently: drop tests, penetration tests, retention tests. It seems the differing ways of testing a helmet may each have their own weaknesses and strengths, and some claim the DOT testing methods are outdated. I know folks who swear ECE is the best since they do the most in-depth testing, and since they are recognized in the most countries and by every major racing organization.
Many helmets sold by Harley-Davidson meet both DOT and ECE certification standards.
Whichever one you choose, I think you should wear that helmet every time you’re on the motorcycle; that’s how you can protect your brain in typical crashes.
[Arlen Stauffer DCCC Member, ’18 FLHCS ANN Rider, MD]