Recently, CBS News released a story about the underlying danger of "novelty helmets"—which are not actually intended to be used by motorcyclists. Although they are sold under the guise of being a novelty item, more and more people have chosen to wear these helmets in place of those that meet the Federal Department of Transportation's safety standards. Sold mostly over the Internet, these helmets come in stylish colors and are typically cheaper than regular helmets. Comparatively, these novelty items weigh about half as much as normal helmets and have very little protective padding inside. Even so, the National Highway Safety Administration estimates that nearly 800,000 are sold annually in the U.S.—which means that a significant number of motorcyclists have decided to choose style over safety.
This may be largely due to the fact that 19 states in the U.S. require bikers to wear helmets. It is illegal to wear a novelty helmet in these states, but many have chosen to do so in the hope that they can avoid being ticketed. According to David Thom, one of the nation's leading helmet experts, "They're made for people who don't want to wear a helmet." Although they cannot legally be advertised as a valid form of head protection, this has not stopped riders from attempting to use them as such. As long as these helmets continue to be sold as novelty items, rather than being labeled motorcycle helmets, the Department of Transportation has no jurisdiction to prohibit venders from selling them. For this reason, it seems that the improper use of novelty helmets will remain a growing problem in the U.S.
If you or someone you love enjoys riding a motorcycle in Alabama, the legal team at Morris, Cary, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC encourages you to put safety first. As safety impact tests will show, a novelty helmet would not be enough to protect you from skull fractures and internal brain injuries in the event of an accident. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you invest in the proper headgear before getting out on the road. According to David Thom, it could be the difference between "terrible head injury, or even death, and being dizzy for an hour"—which, to us, sounds like a good trade-off. There is nothing more important that your health, especially not a more fashionable helmet, so we ask you to make the right choice the next time you climb on the back of a motorcycle.
Already involved in a serious motorcycle accident? Contact a Montgomery personal injury attorney at our firm today for a free initial consultation. Just call at (888) 694-0174 to get started.