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Author Topic: DOT Ratings For M/C Helmets Are Egregiously Outdated. Is your helmet safe?  (Read 1328 times)

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Something to think about from Jalopnik:

DOT Ratings For Motorcycle Helmets Are Egregiously Outdated

There are myriad issues with the way DOT rated helmets are tested for minimum safety standards, not least of which is the fact that the standard (FMVSS 218) was written in 1974. A DOT rated helmet does not have to be tested for visor impact, rollover, or even the strength of the chin bar. Not only that, but helmets are self-tested and self-approved by helmet manufacturers, which means some manufacturers selectively test, and some will outright lie about their product passing. Motorcyclists could be riding around right now with a helmet that won’t properly protect their melon.

FortNine is a motorcycle vlogger out of Canada who has been independently testing bikes and gear for over a year now. The videos are quality, and the results are based on real-world self-styled tests. In this video, he is calling on us, that’d be American enthusiasts, to tell the NHTSA that we want an updated safety standard for motorcycle helmets. By updating DOT standard to be more in line with a Snell or ECE rating, to test for more than just impact (and to lower the maximum acceptable impact), we could save countless bikers’ lives.

This video is as humorous and cinematically flashy as it is fact-based and informative. I really like the style he chose here, and learned a good bit about the lackluster safety standard set by FMVSS 218. If you have just over 9 minutes to spare, definitely watch this and learn something.

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The DOT standards were substandard back when they were first released, and that was a very long time ago.  Anyone who wears a helmet because they actually want to for safety reasons, as opposed to those who just wear one to be legal, should have been buying only SNELL certified helmets all along.  I have.

JMHO - Jerry
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Well I have a bit of a contrarian view about this.  After all what is substandard if there really aren't any agreed upon standards?  And even if (and that's a bit IF) there were a perfect helmet that met all impact tests, the chin bar did not fail, and the helmet resisted crushing who would pay the price or even wear one?  Many riders won't wear a full coverage helmet opting for a 3/4 or even a 1/2 helmet.  How much chin protection do these offer?  None at all.

And most head injuries from motorcycle crashes are closed injury with damage to the soft tissue of the brain.  Very few are caused by an object penetrating the shell of the helmet and causing injury such as a skull fracture.  And that is what the Snell Memorial Foundation focuses on more so than D.O.T.  From what I know it seems that the foam energy absorbing material inside the helmet is the single most important thing in preventing traumatic brain injury.

Now can we improve on what we have without breaking the bank?  I would think so but then again I'm not manufacturing helmets.  In spite of the D.O.T. standards having been promulgated way back in 1974 (I remember it well and was riding my Suzuki GT750 Water Buffalo back then) I submit that the helmets offered today are light years ahead of what we had back in 1974 D.O.T. standard or not.


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I  liked the video. Just bought wife an aria which is snell approved. Waiting on the new Neotec II modular for myself. Mid April I am told.
But seriously go lidless 1/2 the time and so no role model here.


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In the accident I watched, the rider's head was snapped like a whip on the pavement. Not sure if his helmet was DOT or SNELL but, if he hadn't had one on, we would be morning the loss of a member.  It saved his life without doubt. Im sure he is glad he had what he did.  DOT or not, some is better than none. I used to resent the lid law here in Tennessee. Now, I feel as naked without as I do without a seatbelt.
A cat almost always blinks when hit in the head with a ball-peen hammer.


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now you know harley riders are to cool to where helmets,   :huepfenlol2:

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