The Importance of Helmets and Protective Gear for Motorcyclists

Motorcycle helmets save lives, which is why Washington state has required that all motorcyclists should wear a DOT-approved helmet when operating their bikes. Wearing a helmet, along with other types of protective gear, can help prevent significant head and bodily injuries from occurring.

Motorcycle Helmets – Getting One That Works

A proper motorcycle helmet protects against head injuries and should comply with the federal safety standards established by the DOT. Here is what you should look for:

  1. DOT certification. DOT-approved helmets meet federal safety standards, indicated by a DOT sticker on the back. This sticker assures you that the helmet meets minimum safety requirements.
  2. Federal standards. DOT-approved helmets must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218. This includes rigorous testing for impact resistance, penetration resistance, and strap strength.
  3. Fit and comfort. The helmet should fit snugly around your head and not obstruct your vision. Comfort is key, as you’ll be wearing it for long periods.

Buy from reputable dealers to avoid counterfeits that do not meet federal safety standards. Counterfeit helmets are often sold online, carrying fake DOT stickers that give a false sense of security. We encourage you, if you can, to go to a bicycle-focused store to purchase your bike helmet. Other larger in-person retailers are much less likely to have counterfeit products on the shelves. Buying online from major shopping outlets does open up the door to third-party sellers introducing counterfeit material.

Other Gear for Optimal Protection

In addition to helmets, other protective gear can significantly reduce the risk of injuries while riding. Please take time to ensure your entire riding wardrobe is built around safety. Yes, we know that you want to look the part, and there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable and looking how you want to look on the bike. However, be proactive and do yourself and your family a favor by ensuring a safe riding experience. 

Some additional equipment that the Seattle motorcycle accident attorneys at Elk & Elk recommend to increase your chances of getting home safely include:

  1. Gloves. Wear gloves that provide a firm grip on the handlebars and protect your hands from abrasions in case of a fall. Opt for water-resistant gloves in Seattle’s rainy weather.
  2. Jackets. Invest in a high-quality jacket with padding on the shoulders, elbows, and spine. Waterproof jackets will keep you dry on Seattle’s wet roadways.
  3. Pants. Choose pants with reinforced padding on the knees and hips for extra protection. Water-resistant pants help keep you warm and dry.
  4. Boots. Proper boots should cover the ankles and have non-slip soles for firm footing. Waterproof boots prevent cold and wet feet while riding.
  5. Reflective gear. Seattle’s fog and rain can reduce visibility. Wear reflective vests or place reflective strips on your jacket to increase visibility.
  6. Eye protection. Sunglasses or a visor can shield your eyes from the sun, wind, and rain. Goggles are useful if your helmet lacks a face shield. Many popular sunglass manufacturers have both prescription and non-prescription options for motorcyclists