Even though helmets are not required in all states, wearing a helmet is always the safest choice when you're on a motorcycle. But helmet choice is a very personal thing. What you find functional and comfortable could be very different from what your friends and fellow riders prefer to wear. Follow these tips to choose a helmet that is not only comfortable but also safe:
Make sure it's DOT compliant.
Before you settle on any certain brand or style, make sure it is DOT-compliant. If the helmet is compliant, there should be a sticker on the inside of the helmet stating so. In order to earn this certification, the helmet had to be proven to meet certain safety standards set forth by the Department of Transportation. There are other safety certifications, too, but they are privately funded. The DOT certification is performed on a federal level and sanctioned by the government. A helmet without this standard is not a legal one to wear in states that do require helmets -- and it's probably not the best bet for your safety even in a state with no helmet laws.
Measure your head.
Motorcycle helmets are meant to feel snug. Yours may actually feel like it's too snug even though it's really a good fit. A helmet that is too loose won't offer you enough protection if you ever do crash. So, instead of just trying on helmets and settling on a size that you think fits, take the time to measure the circumference of your head. Do this with a soft measuring tape placed around your head about 1/2 inch over your eyebrow level. Then, try on helmets made for that head size.
Decide on the right features.
There are plenty of features that you can find on helmets, from specialized vents to built-in microphones that allow you to talk to your fellow riders while on the road. It's a good idea to decide which specifications you want and then shop for a helmet that has them. If you do things the other way around, you may end up paying for specifications you don't need or want. And high-end helmets can be expensive, so it's worth getting what you need and nothing more.
Choosing a helmet is quite personal, so try on a few while keeping the tips above in mind, and don't worry if the one you love is different from the ones your friends wear. Contact a company for more dot compliance help for more information.