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Protecting Your Head: Knowing the Risks of Novelty Motorcycle Helmets

| Apr 29, 2013 | General Interest, Product Liability

Although they look cool and stylish, novelty helmets present a catch-22. What may look cool does not necessarily work well as these helmets do not provide the adequate protection needed to prevent injury to your head.

Even as more than 800,000 novelty helmets are sold in the U.S. every year, and as motorcycle crash deaths mount, federal regulators have never acted with urgency to crack down on the popular but flawed headgear.  Proposals to limit sales of the novelty helmets have been delayed over and over again as special interests group apply heavy pressure.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2011, the number of US motorcycle deaths was 4,612.  This was an increase of 2.4 percent from 2010 and more than double of the number of deaths in 1997.

In 2007, NHTSA hired an independent testing lab to study 7 different novelty helmets and found that these helmets were worthless in a crash. The evaluation found that there was a ‘100-percent probability of brain injuries and skull fracture, indicating that the person wearing the helmet will sustain fatal head injuries’.   The report added: “Motorcycle riders who wear novelty helmets and believe that ‘something is better than nothing’ have a false sense of security regarding the protection afforded.”

Click here to read the full article: Booming Sales of Novelty Helmets Boost Toll of Motorcycle Deaths

When buying a motorcycle helmet, motorcycle crash research indicates that, all else being equal, ¾ and full face configurations are more effective at reducing injury.  Riders should look for Snell certified full face helmets that fit well and that they can stand for their friends to see them wearing.  ¾ helmets provide better coverage for your skull and the full face feature adds protection for the lower face and jaw.  If the helmet is Snell certified, it means the helmet has been checked for a premium of crash energy management over and above what DOT demands.

Unfortunately many consumers cannot afford safer helmets while others have been misled by marketing towards an unsafe novelty helmet. Manufacturers are reluctant to tell the whole truth about their helmets because revealing the essence of their secret will cost them in decreased sales while novelty helmets continue profitably providing a false sense of protection to helmet wearers.

Just remember the Billy Crystal Saturday Night Live Character was wrong; When it comes to helmet safety it is NOT better to look good than feel good.

If you are in the market for motorcycle helmets or related equipment, be an informed consumer and check for recall and safety issues with your dealer and online through the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Our office has represented a number of motorcycle users including helmet wearers who suffered injury from a defective helmet. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, seek medical treatment immediately.  The lawyers at the Brandi Law Firm have represented a number of people involving defective motorcycle helmets.  Please contact the California Defective Product Attorneys at the Brandi Law Firm today (1-800-481-1615 or email us) to talk with an experienced product liability attorney.