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Are There Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards

Jul 15, 2008
And important part of buying a helmet is making sure it's the right one for you. Getting that right fit is important, and so is knowing your helmet is safe. A great way to be sure is to know the motorcycle helmet safety standards.

When you're looking at motorcycle helmet safety standards, you should know that there are two different groups giving certifications. The government's certification that minimum safety standards are met is given by the Department of Transportation.

Another thing to note is that depending on what country you live in, there may be different motorcycle helmet safety standards. If you live in the US, it is safe to say that any helmet that adheres to the DOT or SNELL standards are good to go. For other countries other standards may apply.

There are a few things to note about the DOT standards. Compliance is shown through a certification that must be displayed on your helmet. A police officer who would like to inspect your helmet for legality can ask to see this sticker.

It is also important to keep in mind that a helmet is not tested by the government if it has a DOT certification. That testing is done by the manufacturer on an honor system that it passes government standards.

So how do you ensure that even though the motorcycle helmet manufacturer says it passes certain safety standard tests that it is actually a helmet that will protect you in case of an accident? There is really no way to know for sure, however picking an established brand and company that has been around for awhile and has a reputation for excellence is a good idea.

There is a second motorcycle helmet safety standard used in North America. It is known as the Snell Memorial Foundation, or simply SNELL. It uses independent laboratory testing, and is not affiliated with the government.

There are differences in the SNELL testing approach. It is more involved and has more tests than the DOT standard. It is also performed by the SNELL labs, and not by the manufacturer themselves. Having a third party confirm the safety standards vs. leaving the responsibility up to the manufacturer is huge! This ensures the helmet you purchase is capable of protecting you in case of an accident.

There are some issues with the SNELL approach. First off, it is expensive to undergo for the manufacturers, and not all helmets are therefore tested. Secondly, it uses less helmets in its testing, because less are submitted.

A SNELL helmet is often also DOT certified, giving you peace of mind. If you like a SNELL certified helmet and have the money, it is a good buy because it is sure to meet motorcycle helmet safety standards.

When protecting your head it is a good idea to get the absolute best helmet your budget can handle. Obviously going with a SNELL is the best choice since it covers both the DOT and the SNELL standards. Settling with a DOT helmet is better than one that isn't safety certified but if possible, shoot for both certifications.
About the Author
Safety standards are there for a reason, to ensure that consumers are being protected! For a large selection of both DOT and SNELL certified helmets just visit Splat Hat. There are all sorts of helmets available, both different color and style combinations are available. For a selection of HJC Open Face Helmets with many different color and style combo's check out Splat Hat.
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