By: KGD Law
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A Guide to Types of Motorcycle Helmets
We have previously discussed the basics of the types of gear out there that you should consider wearing to protect yourself while riding a motorcycle, but in this post, we are going to focus on what is arguably the single most important piece of equipment that protects the most vital part of your body: the helmet. In Florida, there are cases where it is technically not required to wear a helmet while riding. However, even though it is not required by law, it is still an extremely prudent idea to wear one, even if you are just going out for a short drive.
Motorcycle helmets save numerous lives every year, and you should always be wearing one on your bike. But with so many different types of helmets out there, how do you know which one is right for you and what will keep you safe and effective on the road? Read on to learn more about your options when it comes to choosing a helmet.
A full-face helmet will provide the most coverage for your head, face, and neck, and therefore, it is the safest option for you in case of potential impact. This type of helmet is notable because it includes a chin bar, which many other helmets lack. The chin is frequently severely impacted during an accident, so protection for your jaw can prevent a more serious injury.
There are different styles of full-face helmets for different types of riders. If you do sport riding or need to ride in a crouched position, a helmet with a higher chin bar and a visor opening slightly angled towards the top of the helmet will prevent it from lifting when riding at high speeds. If you ride for longer periods in an upright position, a lower chin bar and more straightforward visor opening may be more comfortable.
If you are worried about climate control, most full-face helmets come equipped with ventilation to wick sweat and reduce visor fogging, while keeping you cool. In chillier weather, you can always close the ventilation to keep warmer. Nowadays, some helmets come with modern features, such as visors that adjust tint to the sunlight and Bluetooth speakers.
Also known as flip-up helmets, these models are somewhere between a full-face helmet and a ¾ helmet. They are made with a similar fit to a full-face helmet and include a chin bar, a visor, and occasionally a secondary internal visor for sun protection. However, on a modular helmet, the chin bar and visor are able to flip up to open the front.
The flip-up feature, while convenient, does make this type of helmet slightly heavier. Although it is also a very safe choice, it is also slightly less protective to the rider because of the hinge structure, which makes it not a uniform piece like the full-face helmet. A modular helmet design is best used for an upright riding position, as the visor opening is more straightforward and the chin bar sits low.
This type of helmet is also called a ¾ helmet because it provides coverage for the top, back, and sides of your head, while leaving your face exposed. This type of helmet is sometimes worn by riders of cruisers, as well as scooters and café racers, who may like to feel the wind on their faces. Unfortunately, this also lowers the safety of the helmet, as the protective area is reduced because of the lack of a chin bar.
In the areas to which it does provide sufficient coverage, an open-face helmet is considered to be structurally equivalent to a full-face helmet. Unlike the previous two helmets, the open-face helmet does weigh slightly less because of the lack of a chin bar, but it is still relatively hardy. The open style of the helmet also will provide more limited protection against debris that is kicked up from the road, and it is not sealed against the weather. They may include a partial or full visor, or this may be a part you have to purchase separately.
A half helmet provides the least protection and coverage of the types mentioned so far, as it only covers the top of your head and your forehead up to your browbone area. Depending on the helmet, some may offer a little extra coverage for the ears and at the back of the neck, but your face and chin is unprotected from impact. If you are choosing this type of helmet, you may want to consider looking for one that is at least approved for safety by the DOT.
These helmets provide very good airflow, but they often do not come with their own built-in face shield, so you may need to purchase supplemental eye protection, like goggles. Additional eyewear is a good idea, even if your half helmet does happen to have a visor, as without face coverage, it is easy for debris and wind to reach your face under the visor. There are usually limited tech feature options, as well, since the smaller structure does not leave much room for add-ons.
An off-road helmet is designed for riding off of the main streets and on dirt roads. They are typically worn by riders of dirt bikes, motocross, and MX. This is not a good option for city or highway riding (although it could work in a pinch), but it is very useful for anywhere that you would need knobby tires to ride.
These are closer in protection level to a full-face or modular helmet, but they have a much larger visor and prominent chin bar for improved airflow. This helps it provide the maximum protection for the least amount of weight. The minimal design means features like Bluetooth are unlikely.
They usually come without eye protection, so it will be necessary to wear goggles, particularly if you plan to ride in dirt or mud, to seal against debris. You should test this helmet while wearing your goggles and any other gear you plan to wear to make sure everything fits together comfortably and snugly.
Lastly, the dual-sport helmet is a cross between the full-face and off-road helmets. They have the similar exterior of an off-road helmet, with more interior padding and comfort like a full-face helmet. This style is designed to be used both on and off-road, so it is a great option if you will be covering mixed terrain in the same day.
These helmets have a larger visor than a full-face helmet, and it also flips up for more airflow and easy use with goggles. The visor is more aerodynamic than an off-road helmet and will not lift up in the wind. The chin bar also does not jut out as much, to provide better soundproofing and limited airflow for highway riding.
Even if you are wearing a helmet, you can still get hurt enough to require medical care if you are in a motorcycle accident. If you were the victim of a motorcycle accident and would like to schedule a consultation to find out how much compensation you could be entitled to for your losses, contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz. All initial meetings have no obligation to continue with our services, and you will be given the opportunity to speak directly to an experienced attorney.