Motorcycle helmet types, wearing the right helmet?

rider wearing the right motorcycle helmet on a black motorcycleMotorcycle helmet types, Are you wearing the right helmet? This is one of the most common questions among riders. Probably, the most important piece of safety equipment on a motorcycle is your helmet, especially in the event of a motorcycle accident.

Currently, only eighteen states and the District of Columbia require those over 21 to wear a helmet. Three states have no requirements, and twenty-nine require younger riders (of varying ages) to wear helmets. If you are required to use a helmet or are just smart enough to do so, you should be sure that you’re wearing the right one.

Common Motorcycle Helmet Types

There are six basic types of motorcycle helmets:

  • Full-face – The full-face helmet offers the most head and neck coverage and is usually considered the safest protection from impacts. Full-face helmets have a chin-bar that receives more than half of the severe impact of an accident. A helmet with a chin-bar is the only helmet that protects the chin and jaw.
  • Modular – The modular or flip-up helmet combines features of the ¾ helmet and a full-face helmet. The main feature is that the chin-bar and visor can flip up to open the front of the helmet. They tend to be somewhat heavier than full-face helmets because of the hinge structure. The hinge structure slightly reduces the safety provided, but the presence of the chin-bar makes this still a viable choice.
  • Open-face – The open-face or ¾ helmet covers the top, back, and sides of the head but leaves the face exposed. The lack of a chin-bar significantly reduces the safety factor of an open-face helmet.
  • Half Helmet – The half helmet only covers the top head and the forehead down to the eyebrows. They provide good airflow but offer much less protection than a full face or ¾ helmet. A few are, however, DOT-approved. You will also need to purchase separate eye protection.

Off-Road Helmet types

  • Off-road – Designed for off-road work and not appropriate for city streets, these helmets do not offer eye protection, so goggles or glasses will be required. They do, however, have a chin-bar for maximum protection, lighter weights, and good ventilation. 
  • Dual-sport – Dual-sport or crossover helmets combine the features of the off-road and full-face helmets. They provide more eye protection than a full-face but can open to provide for the use of goggles. There is a chin-bar which is less protuberant than on the off-road. Dual-purpose helmets are especially appropriate when riding on mixed terrain types.

Is it Approved by the Helmet Department of Transportation?

The law will explicitly require approval from the Department of Transportation (DOT) in most states where you required a helmet. There are full-face and half-face DOT-approved helmets, but the full-face helmets generally offer better protection in an accident. Many non-DOT-approved helmets will also protect you but may leave you in violation of your state’s law. 

Is It Approved by Snell?

The Snell Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation focusing on helmet safety standards. It has been a leader in helmet safety since 1957. 

Snell publishes annual standards for different types of helmets and provides a list of its approved helmets on its website.  Snell does not sell helmets but does offer an approval certification licensing program available to dealers. Although not the only certifications for helmets, Snell certifications are considered the gold standard of helmet certifications.  

Contact a Round Rock Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve had a motorcycle accident in Texas or are having trouble recovering for one, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can work to obtain the best possible outcome of your case.  Contact us for an initial case evaluation and consultation or call 512-766-4529