DOT or Novelty Motorcycle Helmets?

riding with novelty motorcycle helmetNovelty motorcycle helmets are marketed to bikers who don’t want to wear a helmet but want to avoid getting a ticket in states or countries that require helmets, and they are also marketed to bikers who want more style versus more safety…

But novelty motorcycle helmets have less protection and are lighter weight. They are simply smaller than DOT approved motorcycle helmets. As a result they may look a little more pleasing to the eye, but not by much in my opinion.

DOT approved chopper or bobber helmets can look just as good as novelty helmets!

I remember back in college an older student did a speech on why the helmet law is bad for bikers. His main argument is that you can’t be as defensive in an offensive driving environment. You can’t see as well, and you can’t turn you head as well.

Little did he know that I was working in a head trauma specialty hospital at the time, and we received comatose and paralyzed bikers all the time. 99% of them did not have a helmet.

Novelty Low Profile Chopper Style Helmet – Not DOT Approved:

novelty motorcycle helmet
Novelty German Motorcycle Helmet – Not DOT Approved.

DOT Approved Chopper Style Helmet

DOT chopper helmet
DOT Approved German Style Chopper Helmet.

So Which Helmet Is Better DOT or Novelty Motorcycle Helmets?

Most states require you to wear a helmet that is DOT approved, not a novelty helmet when riding a motorcycle, which is a good thing since motorcycle accidents are on the rise. With over 4,500 annual fatalities, motorcycle accidents account for 10 percent of the accidents, even though motorcycles make up only 2 percent of the traffic on the highways.

There are a lot of helmets on the market, but not all of them should be worn when riding. Only helmets that are Federal Department of Transportation also known as DOT approved, should be worn when riding.

cafe racer style helmet
DOT certified cafe racer bobber helmet.

The exacting standards and testing that is performed to pass DOT regulations ensures that they protect you in an accident:

  • They cover different types of possibilities that can occur when you get into a accident like protection from penetration, impact resistance, chin strap positioning and closure, and the correctness of the fit.
  • They also make sure that there is at least a 210 degree field of vision available to the rider, peripheral clearance on both sides will be no less than 105 degrees. This is very important since you are less likely to be seen on the road by other drivers, it is up to the rider to make sure they can see what is all around them at all times.

Checking labels can be the difference between life and death.

Helmets that are DOT approved is by law required to permanently and legibly display the correct labeling and in the correct places. You will find the labels in two different places on an approved helmet:

  • First one will be located on the outside back of the helmet in contrasting colors from the background. The lettering will be minimum 3/8 inches in height and centered no less than 11/8 inches and maximum of 13/8 inches from the bottom edge of the helmet.
  • The second label will be sewn inside the helmet where it cannot be removed with removing the inner padding or other parts of the helmet. This label will have the following information, name or identification of the manufacturer, model design, size, month and year it was made, and of course the DOT symbol.
rebel bobber helmet
DOT certified cafe racer bobber helmet – Rebel style.

If these labels are not on the helmet you purchase, than it is not DOT approved and will most likely not protect you in a accident. Some can even cause more harm to you than not wearing one at all. Check both label places carefully before buying, so you do not get a fraudulent helmet, unfortunately there are some places out there that will put fake stickers on the helmet to fool you, so be careful.

Novelty motorcycle helmets are unsafe and should never be worn to ride the roads.

dot half helmet
DOT approved half helmet or skull cap, chopper bobber style.

Novelty motorcycle helmets are not Dot approved. They may look nice, but they should never be worn for protection when riding a motorcycle. There are a lot of helmets on the market that look cool, but if they will not protect you when you ride than you are better off not taking the risk.

Too many riders are lost because of improper helmets, so next time you go out riding make sure you know which type of head protection you are wearing and choose correctly, choose DOT approved, leave the novelty motorcycle helmets for when you want to take pictures or anything else other than riding on the roads.

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