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Motorcycling 101: Helmets, it's what protects your head.

Result of landing face first in a crash (Full face helmet shield)
Result of landing face first in a crash (Full face helmet shield)
Ralph L. Angelo Jr

There has been and probably always will be a huge helmet debate in this country. We have those who say they want the freedom of the wind in their hair and those who want the safety of a full face dot/Snell helmet.

There are a lot of lies in helmet land and we here today are going to dispel of a few of them.

But before we do, let’s get something out there and understood. If you crash, you have a one in four chance of landing on your chin or face. One in four. That is not a lie that is the truth and a hard, solid fact. Wouldn’t you rather have a solid chin bar there protecting your face from the pavement and painful injuries and then the subsequent reconstructive surgeries?

Another solid fact; states that have repealed their helmet laws see a marked increase in motorcycle head injuries and deaths. No lies, no fluff, just the plain and honest truth.

Now on to the helmets themselves. You have several types available. We’ll start with half helmets. These typically have no face shield and are DOT certified only. They offer protection at the top of the head only. Ears and sides of riders’ heads are exposed. Goggles or DOT glasses must be worn with them.

Three quarter helmets (3/4) are similar to half helmets but cover the ears and down to the neck. The face is open and exposed. A snap on face shield is available for these to protect from bugs and rain. DOT certification only.

Full face helmets. These cover your entire head and chin. They offer the best protection hands down. A full face shield snaps closed in cold or wet weather. A well-made full face has plenty of air vents to keep you cool in hot weather. Consequently you get what you pay for. If you buy a cheap full face, it’s going to be put together badly and be a lousy, noisy helmet to wear and use. Ventilation will be poor and you’ll be complaining how noisy it is. Make sure you check out helmet reviews wherever you can to see what brand works best for you. Full Face helmets are either DOT or DOT/SNELL certified. SNELL is a non-profit institute that has their own level of helmet protection certification that is supposedly superior to DOT (Department of Transportation) Do your research when looking into a full face helmet.

Let’s dispel a few rumors. 'Full face helmets block your peripheral vision.' You usually hear this from the cruiser guys who don’t want to wear a helmet, citing freedom etc. They’ve also never worn a full face helmet so just ignore it. Full face helmets do not block your peripheral vision at all. That’s simply wrong and an excuse to not wear one.

'The non DOT beanie ‘novelty’ helmets are just as good as anything else out there.' Wrong. They are salad bowls at best. Those helmets have zero padding in them. If you fall and crash, hitting your head, absolutely expect brain damage. The padding is what protects you from serious life altering injury or death.

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