Many Different Types of Motorcycle Helmets
Motorcycle Helmets are required by law in some states, and even where they are not mandated, it makes sense to protect the most vulnerable part of a motorcyclist’s body from damage in the event of any accident. All the helmets described here are secured to the head by straps worn underneath the chin.
Full Face Helmets
The highest degree of protection is offered by full face helmets, which cover the whole head and almost all of the face and extend to below the chin, usually worn with a hinged plain or tinted visor or sunglasses. The advantage of a full face helmet is the protection against the elements, dust, insects and flying debris. Disadvantages include the weight and difficulty of conversing without first removing it. Racing helmets fall in this category, are usually lighter and easier for extended wear, but tend to be rather expensive, since they are made from premium materials.
Also known as half-shell helmets, a half helmet covers only the top of the head, giving a motorcyclist little protection and exposing him to wind, snow, rain and anything that is caught up in it. The half helmet has been popularized by motorcyclists who style themselves as rebels, but is rarely seen on true long distance riders, because of how tiring it is to absorb the wind over hours of riding.
Open Face Helmets
The open face helmet offers the next best protection to that of a full face helmet, and a half helmet, but without the chin portion or visor. A peak, something like those found on a baseball caps can be attached to the helmet over the eyes, adding a little extra protection Goggles are a good way to protect the vulnerable eyes when wearing this type of helmet. Sunglasses, especially the type that adjust quickly to varying light conditions are another possibility for wearers of open face helmets.
Novelty Helmets come in many designs and colors and are rarely worn for serious protection. They can be made from any of the helmet types discussed, and usually feature artwork and may have additions made of fiberglass to appear like horns and wings. A novelty helmet is the perfect device to scare other motorists and convince neighbors the wearer is a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang. Models sighted on the street include helmets with Viking horns, German soldier WW2 style helmets, a simulated skull, gladiator spikes and a demon design complete with attached bones.
The police and other security forces prefer this style of helmet, because it can be removed from the head without blocking any portion of the vision, a very important feature for law enforcement professionals. 3/4 helmets offer almost as much protection as a full face one and they are popular with long distance riders who prefer not to remove their helmets at stops. A 3/4 helmet is worn with goggles or sunglasses to protect the eyes.
In a bid to get motorcyclists to wear helmets, the industry has come up with some smaller variations to satisfy the vanity of riders who put looks and comfort before safety. At least that is the opinion of many law enforcement officers and medical personnel who deal with the injuries which result from shortly helmets and those even smaller. They are still D.O.T. certified, that is, a tester makes the purchase of a random shorty helmet and takes it back to the laboratory to make sure it passes certain tests.
Skull Cap Helmets
These are the bare minimum that fulfills the law in states where a helmet must be worn. A skull cap helmet is the smallest available, but seems to come in the largest assortment of colors and designs. These skull cap helmets are a favorite with the custom bike crowd, who choose a model to match their paintwork.
Which ever style of helmet a motorcyclist chooses, he or she would be well advised to make sure it carries a D.O.T certified sticker, fits well and offers the highest level of protection possible. Anytime the wearer has an accident that involves the helmet being hit with any force, either on the road or by being dropped, it is time to replace it, as the helmet will have used up its ability to absorb the shock of impact.
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