During spring, summer and fall, motorcycles are common on Mississippi’s roads. If you are a motorist, you must always look twice before turning, changing lanes or stopping suddenly. If you ride a motorcycle, though, you must wear protective gear every time you climb behind the handlebars of your cruiser, sport bike, dirt bike or ATV.
In 2015, motorcyclists accounted for 7% of all motor vehicle fatalities in the Magnolia State. Perhaps the best way to protect yourself from a serious injury on your bike is to wear a good helmet. Before you shop for protective headgear, though, you must know a few things about helmet safety ratings.
Organizations that provide safety ratings
As you probably know, riding helmets come in a variety of styles. Not every helmet on the market today offers excellent protection, however. Motorcycle enthusiasts generally choose to invest in a helmet that has a safety rating from one of the following organizations:
- The Snell Memorial Foundation
- The U.S. Department of Transportation
- The Economic Commission of Europe
To determine if your new helmet has a safety rating from one of these organizations, look for stickers on the helmet. Each organization has its own sticker. If yours is missing one, you must do additional research to determine if it is safe. Remember, some helmets look better than they perform.
The truth about helmet testing
Your everyday car, truck or SUV likely went through extensive crash testing. Testing vehicles makes sense, as most motor vehicle accidents unfold in just a few different ways. That is not the case with motorcycle accidents, however. Because motorcycle wrecks are essentially unpredictable, helmet manufacturers do not simulate accidents. Instead, they consider how impact energy affects helmets. As such, you must look for a helmet that can withstand significant impacts. You also must replace your helmet after even minor impacts to be certain you have the protection you need to stay safe on Mississippi’s roadways.
Heading out on your motorcycle should be both fun and safe. While you probably cannot eliminate your chances of a motorcycle accident, you can increase your odds of surviving a crash. Purchasing a helmet with a safety rating from a reputable organization is likely your best bet.