Motorcycle riding is about more than just a means of transportation.  Many Kansas City riders take great pride in the ownership of a motorcycle.  Their bike of choice is more than a matter of chance; the bike a dedicated rider chooses is a statement about their way of life.  The same can be said for the gear they they wear.  For some bikers, the roar of the pipes down a long stretch of Missouri highway is the iconic statement of freedom.  The idea that state law requires motorcycle riders in Missouri to wear a helmet irritates many riders.  Perhaps it is for this reason that the market for novelty helmets is growing.

Why Novelty Helmets?

Full-face shield helmets are too restricting to some bikers.  The shields are confining, some say.  Others complain that the full-face helmet restrict the field of vision.  Many riders that favor smaller helmets claim that the full face helmets are too hot in warmer weather.  There is resentment sometimes for the legal requirement; free spirited riders feel like it is a restriction on their personal freedoms to be required to wear a specific type of helmet.

Novelty helmets often look like old military helmets.  Often referred to as turtle shells or brain buckets, these helmets do not have face shields and cover only the very top of the head.  Many motorcycle riders cite the lightweight feel and lack of wind resistance of novelty helmets for their preference over regular helmets.  Other riders wear novelty helmets in an effort to fool law enforcement into thinking they are following helmet laws.

How to Spot a Novelty Helmet

In order to be called a motorcycle helmet, a helmet must meet certain regulations.  Novelty helmets do not have the official Department of transportation sticker on the back, which certifies that the helmet meets DOT regulations.  Novelty helmets do not meet these regulations.  Bikers who rely on novelty helmets are not fully protected. 

Novelty helmets are much smaller than regulation helmets.  Novelty helmets do not have the same hard shell legal helmets do, offering the rider little protection against head injuries in the event they lay the bike over.  Additionally, regulation helmets contain foam linings that cushion the head against excessive jarring.

Dangerous Rides

Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous.  Using the correct helmet (one that meets DOT regulation standards) can protect you from head injuries, but the information and statistics do not paint a clear picture of how much extra protection.  In 2008, 560 people were killed in motorcycle wrecks.  Unfortunately, there is no data that represents the types of helmets that were worn.  Brain injuries can occur simply by jarring the rider back and forth rapidly, wherein the brain moves around inside the skull at a different velocity than the head.

Full face shields can help protect the rider from road rash.  Any helmet that does not have a face shield or enough head protection will do nothing for a rider that is thrown from a motorcycle.  Even if the wreck is not fatal, severe injuries can occur.  If the helmet does not feature chin protection, the motorcycle rider risks severe disfigurement even in a simple wreck.  Wearing the right protective gear is a necessity for any biker.  Novelty helmets are simply not designed for protection.

Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?

If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

You can also order your FREE copy of our book, "KC Biker Bible."

James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.