DOT Motorcycle Helmet Basics


A DOT motorcycle helmet is the standard of excellence for motorcycle riders. They are certified by the Department Of Transportation (i.e. DOT). But what is this organization all about? They are the regulating authority for all motor vehicles and decide what acceptable equipment is through a rigorous certification process. This is important for riders because they know the helmet has passed the minimum safety requirements. And the certification indicates approval by DOT.

A helmet without the certification sticker may be substandard in quality and may not provide the type of protection necessary to be on the road. This could mean the difference between walking away from an accident and being taken away in an ambulance.

There are several types of DOT motorcycle helmets to consider when looking for a new one.

They are categorized into different styles according to the shape, face shield and how much ventilation is provided. Four main types are generally recognized today: the German motorcycle helmet, a full face model, a 3/4 face style, and a modular helmet.

The German model has been around since World War I. It has an updated version today called a beanie, shorty, or half helmet depending on the manufacturer. It provides coverage to the head from the eye brow level to the back center of the head. Since a lot of the face is uncovered, it has a very distinct appearance when compared to the other three.

A Full Face helmet is a polar opposite to the German style since it covers the area from the chin in the front all the way to the neck in the rear. There are vents in the front, sides and top that provide a way to get some air into the helmet as well as a flip open visor in the front. This is the only one of the four styles that also qualifies for the Snell Memorial Foundation certification, which is quite a coup since it is the total measure of a helmet’s effectiveness. This mark carries even more weight among riders than the DOT certification, since these helmet types are used in racing vehicles. The full face helmets provide the full amount of head protection except for the neck area.

Another variety of motorcycle helmet is the 3/4 face model which is identical to the previous type discussed except that it has an open area in the front. There is more ventilation afforded by this model as opposed to the full face helmet since there is less coverage area in the front. It can be augmented with a face shield that can be flipped up to provide a barrier against the wind or even a replaceable visor to provide UV protection.

A Modular helmet is a combination of the full face and 3/4 face helmets, with an attempt to get the best of both worlds. It features a special push button adjustment of the chin and mouth guard to allow more wind to enter the interior chamber. This cooling breeze is important for many riders when the surrounding environment is quite warm, however this can also cause an extensive amount of wind shear that could possibly damage the helmet. This problem has been addressed by the Shark company which designed a new modular helmet model that allows the user to flip the lower section to the back, making this a 3/4 style and full faced all in one unit. It is gaining in popularity among many riders, but is most seen with the touring or semi-sport aficionados.

The DOT motorcycles helmets are the preferred brand for riders everywhere. The models and styles vary, but no matter which one is picked it has to fit well with the motorcycle and type of riding that normally occurs. These will help any rider to choose the right model for his needs which will provide safety, comfort, and protection. And that has to make a motorcycle fan very happy.

Comments are closed.