Tag Archives: helmet

Substandard motorcycle helmet can be reason for a ticket

The in basket: I came across an old e-mail from 2011 from the State Patrol warning motorcycle riders that motorcycle helmets have to meet certain standards to protect the rider.

It said to be sure your helmet “is DOT approved.”

“The Department of Transportation sets standards that manufacturers must follow when designing a helmet, it said.  Proof that a helmet meets the standards is “permanently affixed to the outside of the helmet. Beware of DOT stickers – a sticker is not a permanent fixture.” There also will be a permanent label inside the helmet saying who made it, when and out of what material.

“A proper helmet is typically heavier than a novelty helmet due to the one-inch thick inner form lining,” it said. It also will have a thick chin strap that fits well and is riveted to the helmet.

The news release was couched in terms of injuries that might result from having a substandard helmet, but it didn’t say whether you can be cited for riding with one that doesn’t meet requirements.

The out basket: State Trooper Russ Winger said you can be, and can even be pulled over if an officer suspects your helmet doesn’t meet standards.

But as a practical matter, citations of this kind usually result when a motorcyclist is stopped for violating some other traffic law or not wearing a helmet at all.

“If a trooper suspects that a helmet worn by a rider is merely a ‘shell,’ the trooper can (make a) stop and inspect the helmet. Troopers are not going to rely on a ‘DOT STICKER’ on the outer shell as proof that the helmet meets the requirements. Stickers can be removed, painted over etc.

“If a helmet looks very thin and cheaply made, it probably is not conforming to these standards. A citation can certainly be written for violations of the statute,” he said.