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Safety Groups Advise Certified Helmet Use for Motorcyclists

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December 10, 2015

Motorcycle drivers are often quite vulnerable on the road. They are unprotected while driving a smaller and less visible vehicle than those around them. Research has shown that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured than drivers of cars.

It is important for motorcyclists to make sure they are protected with a safe helmet. Often, drivers are unknowingly equipped with helmets that fail to meet safety standards. Novelty helmets may look safe, but only Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmets offer true safety features.

DOT Compliant Helmets vs. Novelty Helmets

The DOT requires motorcycle helmets meet federal safety standards. However, some helmets are sold as novelty helmets, which may look similar but do not offer the same protections. DOT approved helmets feature:

  • Thick inner liner. The protective foam liner should be at least one inch thick.
  • Hard outer shell. The safest helmets are made from polycarbonate or other hard material that is designed to compress when it hits something hard. The compression disperses energy to lessen the force of impact to the head.
  • Sturdy chin strap. The chin strap is necessary to ensure the helmet does not fly off when involved in an accident.
  • Proper weight. DOT-approved helmets typically weigh about three pounds, while novelty helmets can weigh as little as one pound or less.
  • DOT sticker. Safe helmets feature a DOT sticker. Novelty helmets typically contain a warning label stating they do not meet safety standards and are not meant for use on the road.

Delaware Encourages Helmet Use

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles has issued guidelines for motorcycle use, including a recommendation that drivers wear helmets. It’s stated that helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those without head protection.

However, Delaware law mandates only that drivers over the age of 19 possess a helmet. For younger motorcyclists, the rules are stricter. They must wear a helmet while on a motorcycle.

Research has shown that motorcyclists are often more vulnerable than others on the road. While we hope that drivers and riders remain safe, we know accidents happen. The experienced legal team at Morris James has represented many motorcyclists injured by other motorists. If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact us to discuss your situation.

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