I doubt the first motorcycle helmet that came out which was invented by Gottlieb Daimler in 1885 was dot approved. Well back in his day a bike was not capable of the speeds that today’s bikes are. So there was likely not a need for helmets that were approved for a high impact crash. the department of transportation which is what DOT stands for did not start approving helmets until 1974 by introducing a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for motorcycle helmets.
When you buy motorcycle helmets for yourself or for a biker you know make sure that the helmet has been DOT approved. What this means is basically that the manufacturer of the helmet has submitted their product for testing and approval with the Department of transportations. Once the motorcycle helmet bears the mark DOT Approved you can rest assured that it meets the standards for safety as set forth by the department of transportation. Snell is another entity that can approve a motorcycle helmet for safety, however they are not an official government agency and therefore do not carry the weight that dot has. So next time you buy helmets make sure its dot helmet.
DOT motorcycle helmets come in thousands of variations and are made by many manufacturers, so choosing one that fits your personality and riding style should be quite easy. Helmets come in some basic styles. You have full face, half face, skull caps or beanies and flip up which are also called modular motorcycle helmets. Each have some advantages and disadvantages. For example the full face helmet is most popular with your sport bike riders however some guys that ride a cruiser will also wear these, however the cruiser crowd tends to lean towards half face of beanie type skull caps also affectionately called brain buckets.
The Full face helmet probably offers the greatest protection as well as most of these helmets come with a face shield which makes it un necessary to wear goggles. the first time you get caught in the rain wearing one of these you will be thankful you have it on. Also most of your full face models allow you to change out the face shield so you can get a tinted one for day time riding and a clear one for nights. This is really nice especially when your riding straight in to the sun.
Half face motor cycle helmets are more popular with the cruiser and chopper crowd because they allow you to get that wind in your face type feeling which the full face does not allow. generally a half face will require you to get some goggles or some sort of eye protection, however their are some models that have a built in flip up face shield.
Now the Beanie or skull cap type of helmet is especially popular with your custom chopper and cruiser crowd. I think this is mainly because they are just more suited too their bikes when it comes to looks. Even a DOT skull cap or beanie isn’t going to give you the protection that a full face helmet will. However I know it looks kind of goofy to be on an outlaw looking chopper in a full face motor cycle helmet, that is why most of these riders prefer a beanie or skull cap.
Whatever type of helmet you prefer just remember it is important to at least wear some sort of helmet when you are out tearing up the streets. Also most states have helmet laws which require you to wear some sort of helmet or you get a hefty ticket.
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