Before getting on your bike, you should be 100% sure that your motorcycle protective gear is not only in tip-top shape, but also complies with federal standards. It is a proven fact that wearing an approved helmet can prevent serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Helmets are one of the most important pieces of protective gear and it is important to make sure yours will do its job. After all, statistics show you are more likely to die in a motorcycle collision when wearing an unsafe helmet than if you don’t wear one at all.

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) sets the standards for motorcycle helmets. One way to know if you have an approved and legitimate helmet is to look for a DOT label on the outside. Unfortunately, counterfeit stickers exist, so to guarantee that your helmet meets the requirements, there are a few other things you should look for:

  1. A proper helmet will have a chin strap that is thick and riveted. Some unsafe helmets have chin straps, but may not be as reliable and often have pieces sticking out on the inside of the shell, creating another hazard in the event of a crash.
  2. The shell of a DOT approved motorcycle helmet will have an inner foam lining, usually about one inch thick, making it somewhat heavy.
  3. Along with looking for a DOT label on the outside of the helmet, on the inside of the helmet, there should be a sticker that states the manufacturer’s name, the helmet model, size, date manufactured and include a list of the helmet materials.

Riding a motorcycle presents a sense of freedom, but don’t skimp on your protective gear! Do your research to ensure your helmet is protecting you on the road. It may just save your life.

It’s A Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families and our communities.