The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has updated the motorcycle helmet law in an attempt to stop people from wearing improperly certified helmets and novelty helmets. The law doesn't change the construction of helmets directly, but changes the way they're labeled, to make it more difficult to mimic DOT compliance certifications.

Now, helmets that conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 will carry a sticker with the manufacturer's name, the helmet model and the words "DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified." The move to make helmets safer comes after the number of riders sporting unsafe and novelty brain buckets increased dramatically in 2010 over 2009.

According to NHTSA statistics, in 2010, only 54 percent of motorcyclists wore a DOT-approved lid. Around 14 percent wore a novelty helmet, and 32 percent went without a helmet altogether. In 2009, those numbers were 67 percent, 9 percent and 24 percent. In 2010, 75 percent of riders who did elect to wear a helmet wore a DOT-compliant one. In 2009, that number was 86 percent.


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  • 29 Comments
      cobra1676
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here in RI some other area states, you MUST wear a seat-belt in a car, but a helmet on a bike.... OPTIONAL !!!!!!!! WTF? Now, If I were to wear a helmet in a car, I'd get my balls busted!!!!!!!!
        goober1424
        • 3 Years Ago
        @cobra1676
        The reason is pretty simple. Motorcyclists lobbied their state legislators to repeal helmet laws. There were enough of them to make the elected officials worry for their job so they did what was asked of them. If thousands of car drivers showed up in Harrisburg demanding the repeal of seat belt laws, Pennsylvania would be seat belt free in less than a month. Statistics be damned.
        MrMischief
        • 3 Years Ago
        @cobra1676
        In a car you become a flying object likely injuring anyone else in the vehicle with you. When you go airborne on a bike you're only hurting yourself. I feel that helmets should only be mandatory if the rider is younger then 18. Seat belts should only be mandatory if the person is under 18 or if there is more then one person in the vehicle. I always wear my seatbelt and I always wear my helmet (and jacket, and spine protector, and riding pants, and boots, and gloves) but it should also be my right to make stupid choices.
          Julius
          • 3 Years Ago
          @MrMischief
          I would agree to that - with the caveat that if you are unrestrained/unhelmeted and do get injured, you only get what your insurance pays. Once that runs out, you're on your own. Many of these unprotected long-term injured/disabled folks live the rest of their lives courtesy of Medicaid - and off our wallets - that might have been prevented by reasonable safety precautions. Like you said, it's your right to make stupid decisions, just as it's my right not to pay for them.
      RepealMachine.com
      • 3 Years Ago
      The question isn't whether a helmet is good for you. It's whether you want to be forced to wear one. If you don't mind the helmet law, do nothing. But if you are done debating the issue and would rather simply be done with it, use the Repeal Machine Handbook. Simple steps, unbeatable results. Google it and decide for yourself.
      budwsr25
      • 3 Years Ago
      I ride a 07 R6 with a scorpion helmet that is dot and snell approved. I now have a actual riding leather jacket that i bought this year. Before i wore a leather coat with a icon back protector. I see guys riding with shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops all the time. Then there is the girls that ride on the back in tanktops, shorts and flip-flops. I don't know how they do it.
      Mark S
      • 3 Years Ago
      The nicknames I've heard about riders that don't wear protective gear includes idiot, hamburger, road rash, and organ donor. Yes I'm glad I'm still here. So is my wife. Try as I did, maybe the odds were against me after 45 years of riding. (Yeah, I'm 60, that's another factor for stopping riding), but in the 6 months before the wreck I had at least 3 close calls that were the fault of the other guy, but where my reactions saved me. Traffic around here has gotten a bit too much. And Stupid doesn't matter if you're in four wheels or on two. As for motorcyclist not hurting others in cars, I've seen stories about GSXR riders being the rocket that killed both passenger and driver in a vehicle.
      royrogersrevenge
      • 3 Years Ago
      Have any of you read what was posted? They aren't outlawing novelty helmets/no helmets or creating a fine for not using DOT helmets. All they are doing is making it harder for a helmet to imply that it is DOT certified when it is not certified. That's it.
      WDITech
      • 3 Years Ago
      Helmet laws are anti-American...stupid if you dont wear one..sure....but stupidly over reaching forcing people to do so. So now were have stupid new regulation...attached to a law that is already ..well...stupid. So is this to help people fell more safe when buying a product?...or just another income ticket to add to the local authorities kitty?
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 3 Years Ago
      My opinion is that it should be up to the person in a car or on a bike whether they wear a seat belt or helmet. I won't even sit in a car in a drive-thru without my seat belt on or a bike without a helmet, but I despise the thought of the government telling me I have to wear them. I don't want to hear about medical expenses either, because my taxes are wasted on supporting anchor babies much more than they are on the occasional motorcycle rider being turned into a veggie.
      Bumblebee
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm torn about this issue. If you're enough of an idiot to wear a helmet that does a poor job of protecting your noggin, there should not be a law requiring you to wear a better one. Live an idiot, die an idiot, and preferably sooner rather than later: Chances are, your other idiotic escapades will end up costing me, the taxpayer, more in the long run than if you kicked off now. Cheers!
        Carreeon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Bumblebee
        You sir, are a grade-A schmuck. I'm an intelligent individual making better than average money, paying higher than average taxes, and on very rare occasions, I choose to ride one of my motorcycles with a novelty helmet, or (gasp) without any sort of helmet at all. I do this because on very rare occasions, I feel like doing so. The government has no place telling me that I must wear a helmet every time I throw a leg over a motorcycle. I suppose you would be in support of government dictating that we all be required to wear a condom whenever we might have sex. Or perhaps we should all be required to drink decaf coffee? A government mandate to eat lowfat foods and a ban on alcohol make just as much sense. Answer me this, he who wishes novelty helmet bearing riders dead, are you overweight? Do you smoke? Well, I exercise a minimum of 3 days a week, eat a vegetarian diet, and have regular checkups. I feel the government should mandate everyone else be required to do the same, at a minimum, since the inactivity of others will inevitably cause my insurance premiums to rise. Actually, no I don't, because I believe very strongly that people should be allowed to do whatever they want, so long as they are not harming, or risking harm to, anyone but their self. Sounds crazy, I know, internet tough guy (or gal?). Enjoy whatever it is you do with your so-called life.
          Fatoid
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Carreeon
          "I believe very strongly that people should be allowed to do whatever they want, so long as they are not harming, or risking harm to, anyone but their self." I doubt anyone would disagree in principle, but first we have to define "harm". Since the government is involved, I would "harm" is probably largely determined by the effect on the public purse. I would guess that someone from the GAO has crunched the numbers and figured out that it's cheaper to mandate and enforce helmet laws than it is to finance the aftermath of motorcycle accidents. In contrast the same someone has determined that free for all eating, drinking, smoking, caffeine and procreation have a net benefit on the economy so those activities are still largely unregulated.
      tump
      • 3 Years Ago
      I live in California but am from Arkansas. Also, I'm a commuter biker (Triumph). I'm always aghast to see the bikers there riding without a helmet. Use it or lose it!
      LUSTSTANG S-197
      • 3 Years Ago
      This to me seems crazy considering when considering that Florida just repealed their helmet law about 12 years ago. Since then, it has been legal to ride without a helmet. I agree with that, because in most instances, a helmet won't do you much good. You crash on a motorcycle going 40 or 50 mph, I don't care what you have on your head, you are going down.
        Chris A
        • 3 Years Ago
        @LUSTSTANG S-197
        I crashed on the interstate going 40 or 50 mph, with a full face helmet and an armored jacket. I walked away with a skinned knee. Without that helmet, they'd be rebuilding my face.
        goober1424
        • 3 Years Ago
        @LUSTSTANG S-197
        Either you don't ride, or you have never fallen at speed. A helmet will most definitely save your brain/face/head/life in an accident going 40 - 50 mph and certainly much higher speeds. Do you think motorcycle racers only reach 35mph or something?
      Billy Seroyer
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would never buy any thing less then a Arai, or Shoei. If the Harley boys want to wear shitty half shell helmts let them, its there jaw that going to meet the pavement.
      Bumblebee
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm torn about this issue. If you're dumb enough to wear a helmet that does a poor job at protecting your noggin, I don't think a law should require you to wear a better one. If you live an idiot, die an idiot, and preferably sooner rather than later: Chances are the rest of your other idiotic escapades will end up costing me, the taxpayer, more in the long run than if you kicked off now.
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