DOT Motorcycle Helmet

First time riders often don’t know what a DOT Motorcycle Helmet is. You hear the term tossed around and figure out it’s got something to do with safety, but what exactly does “DOT” mean, and what does it have to do with Motorcycle Helmets?

A DOT Motorcycle Helmet is a helmet that has passed the safety requirements and tests of the Department of Transportation. In states with motorcycle helmet laws, a DOT helmet is the minimum level of helmet you’re allowed to wear legally. The good news is that it’s extremely difficult to find one that ISN’T DOT approved since, technically, any motorcycle helmet sold in the US is required to have met the DOT requirements.

So what are these requirements, and what do they mean?

The build and design of a DOT Motorcycle Helmet can be mostly simply explained in terms of a few key factors.


Inner Liner:

Here we’re not talking the “padding”, but the actual liner, the material that protects your skull. About one inch of polystyrene foam tends to be what you’ll find lining the inside of a DOT Motorcycle Helmet, though this can vary slightly with helmet design. Whether or not you can see it or it’s covered with some sort of additional inner layer, you’ll know a motorcycle helmet has this because, well, it’ll be thick. If you pick up a helmet and it’s only a thin plastic shell, it’s barely going to protect you in a fall, and it’s definitely not a DOT Helmet.
The polystyrene foam is what breaks instead of you in a fall, so it’s important! And the Department of Transportation recognizes this. It’s a simple concept, straightforward (not like learning to speak German): a motorcycle helmet with thicker foam will protect you better in a fall, and DOT has requirements for this.


------Unsafe Helmet ------------------ Safe Helmet ------

(Images from the NHTSA website)


Next, Rivets and Chin Strap:

This one’s basic: a DOT Motorcycle Helmet has met the basic requirements for it’s rivets (those metal things holding it together) and chin strap. In other words: it won’t fall apart when you fall.


Helmet Weight:

This isn’t a requirement so much as a clue. When you pick it up, a DOT Motorcycle Helmet is going to weigh in the neighborhood of three pounds or so. The point isn’t the exact weight, the point is that it doesn’t feel absurdly light (i.e. 1 pound). If a motorcycle helmet weighs a pound, it’s not DOT approved.


Helmet Design and Style:

Protrusions aren’t allowed to exceed two-tenths of an inch on DOT Motorcycle Helmets. This is probably to prevent anything that might snag or catch on the ground and torque your neck in a fall, though I don’t have that on authority. You might run into what’s called a “German Army” style motorcycle helmet. If it’s got a giant spike sticking up out of the top, it’s not a DOT Motorcycle Helmet. However, there are some German style helmets on the market you can find that have been DOT approved, you just have to stop around.

There are different ways to see if a motorcycle helmet is DOT approved. To start with, if it’s a full face motorcycle helmet, it’s probably DOT approved. Most novelty helmets aren’t full face. The other (main) way to check is to look for the DOT sticker. DOT helmets are required to have this sticker on the outside, rear of the helmet. Note, however, that a fake sticker can be placed on a motorcycle helmet. So if you’re not buying from a reputable dealer, you might want to do a bit more research to double check: like looking up the helmet online to see if it’s DOT approved, or checking for the stickers of other organizations such as SNELL or ANSI.

So there ya have it, the basics of a DOT Motorcycle Helmet, what it is and what it means.

9 comments:

softweb said...
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softweb said...
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softweb said...
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softweb said...

Hey, I have bought some cool motorbike helmets from this site. You can have a look into it. These are really amazing.

iffoo said...

Dot motorcycle helmet Design is very simple and in market its requrement is very high.]
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carrhall said...

Dot motorcycle helmets are very protective and useful for bike riders and i like interior and exterior design of this helmet.
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John said...
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John said...

Dot helmet design is very simple. I bought this helmet last year for my brother.Looks amazing with simple to swap visors.

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