California law requires that motorcyclists wear U.S. DOT-compliant motorcycle safety helmets to protect themselves while riding. The majority of serious and fatal injuries during motorcycle accidents are head injuries. Wearing a quality helmet could save your life and prevent serious injury.
Manufacturers test their motorcycle helmets for impact absorption and durability. They conduct drop tests, penetration tests, collision tests and abrasion tests. It’s important to run abrasion tests because a helmet that doesn’t slide smoothly against the pavement makes it more likely for your neck to sustain an injury during motorcycle accidents. Testers also drop the helmet at different velocities to see how much it can sustain before cracking too much.
You need to wear a helmet that covers as much of your entire head as possible while riding a motorcycle. The area of the helmet that provides visibility is weaker than other areas, which is unavoidable, as you need to see the road. However, manufacturers work on finding formulas and construction techniques that offer better protection. A motorcycle helmet is still far better than a helmet that’s not designed for this activity.
Motorcycle helmets have positional stability, which means that they are likely to stay on, even if you are in a crash. Manufacturers test helmets for positional stability by turning them upside down and loading them at the edges. They let the load free fall while measuring how far the helmet moves. If it moves more than five millimeters, then it isn’t safe.
Helmets for motorcycle riding need to be able to withstand 400 kilograms of force. When a helmet doesn’t have a high enough retention strength, it could come off during an accident.
You should only use proper motorcycle helmets when you’re riding to protect yourself from head and spine injuries. U.S. DOT-compliant motorcycle safety helmets have been through rigorous tests to confirm they are safe for riders.