Facts concerning motorcycle helmets

Even though Minnesota does not have a universal helmet law, motorcyclists who wear them may prevent a life-threatening head injury.

Those living in Minnesota who choose to ride motorcycles know that they are more exposed than drivers of automobiles. It is important for riders to do everything they can to stay as safe as possible on the road. One way for riders to increase their protection from serious injury is by wearing a helmet. This has been proven to save lives.

Choosing the right helmet

A motorcycle helmet should undergo rigorous safety testing before it is put on the market. This should include the strength of the strap and fastener, as well as how well the inner liner absorbs shocks. The outer shell must resist penetration, and it must also have some give to the material so that an impact does not immediately break it. A rider can know he or she is getting a helmet that passes these tests by looking for a DOT sticker, because this marker indicates that it has met the U.S. Department of Transportation's standards.

The best helmet cannot be effective if it does not fit right. For example, it is likely to cause headaches and sore spots on the head and face if it is too tight. On the other hand, it will not absorb shocks if it is too loose, and may even come off in a crash.

A full-face helmet provides the best protection, and the DOT sticker ensures the rider that vision will not be obstructed. The visor should be able to withstand the force of an object from the road that is thrown by a vehicle's tires and protect the eyes.

The difference made by helmets

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Minnesota motorcycle deaths in 2014 were much higher for unhelmeted riders. In fact, 63 percent of riders who died in crashes were not wearing headgear. Twenty percent of the crash fatalities that year involved helmets, and there was no information about helmet use on the other 17 percent. Overall, statistics indicate that 37 of every 100 fatalities could have been prevented by a helmet.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that Minnesota riders who are over the age of 17 are not required by law to wear a helmet. However, motorcyclists who do are acting responsibly by protecting themselves from severe and life-changing injuries.

Accidents may still happen due to careless or negligent motorists, though, and even the best helmet does not prevent every injury. Woodbury victims of motorcycle accidents may be entitled to financial compensation to help them pay for medical expenses and other damages. If they want advice on how to proceed in such matters, they may want to talk to a local attorney who practices personal injury law.