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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, here is my take on helmet laws. I agree that it is a freedom issue and should be up to the rider. I also think that your insurance company should have the right to choose how much they want to pay based on whether you were wearing a helmet or not (assuming the wreck was your fault).

But here is my real point. The states have the laws that dictate whether a helmet is approved or not so screwed up that no one, not even a police officer, can really tell. If "The Man" is going to dictate laws about this issue, he should make them clear. Also, if they would allow for a standard test, then the helmet manufacturers would be able to use new age materials that will be thinner, lighter and offer better protection from impact. The laws that currently exist are not in place to protect our pretty heads. In fact, the way they are written and more importantly how they are enforced only serve to hinder improvements in design that would actually increase rider safety. I wish we could change this, but as my title block states, "Wish in one hand..."
 

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I guess I just always thought they had to have the DOT sticker on them, but I haven't checked much into what gets them that sticker. I assume some kind of impact resistance test, but is there a test that measures how good they stay on?

I'm reasonably sure they have to pass a test that insures they make me look like a bobble head doll before they get the DOT's blessing.
 

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The current DOT standard is to impact the helmet against a hemispherical anvil at a speed from 10.7mph to 12.53mph. A different helmet is impacted against a flat anvil at a speed from 12.53mph to 14.32mph. The helmets have a weighted head form inside, and the helmet passes if the shell and liner retain viability within specified standards.

The current Snell standard is to impact the helmet against the same two anvils, plus a third which is an edge anvil that is 6.3mm wide. all three anvils are struck TWICE, in each location (within 10mm) and there are 6 locations that are struck on each helmet. The first strikes are all at 17.34mph. The second strikes are at speeds from 11.23mph to 15.86mph, depending on the location. There is also a penetration test where a pointed weight is dropped on the helmet. The helmets are also mounted on a weighted head form very similar to the DOT test.

This is just a nutshell, only covering the basics of the impact tests. Just from this, you can see where the DOT cert isn't all that great, and it is done on the honor system! DOT tests about 40 helmets/year. Those stickers just mean that the manufacturr promises that the helmet will pass the DOT certification, not that any ever actually were tested. Snell, on the other hand, purchases samples of any currently rated helmets for blind testing. If any fail, then that line is decertified.
Found this on another site I am part of.

As a side note, why does it seem like new guys lately (>30 posts) are extremely argumentative a refuse to back down when they make a ridiculous statement and are called on it?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
According to NC state law and many other states as well, helmets have to pass a particular engineering spec (FMVSS218) to be approved. However, there is no national testing orginization that does this for all helmets. It is up to the manufacturer to do their own test. Unlike everything else from light switches to shampoo that is tested and certified by the UL, FDA, etc. The problems is that the DOT stickers are really nothing special and you can buy one in any local bike shop and stick it on any helmet. So the police know that people put DOT stickers on non-approved helmets.

Now for a real kicker, if you get pulled and the officer wants to check your helmet, how is he supposed to do it? Pull out his handy-dandy high tech super calibrated impact testing device which will destroy the helmet during the test? No, he can't do that. He either has to believe the possibly fake DOT sticker or go by the rule of thumb that many places have accepted which is 1 inch thick styrofoam. The problem is that it doesn't say anything about foam type or thickness in the FMVSS218 spec. So, if an officer gives you a ticket because your helmet wasn't "thick enough", the ticket is in itself fraudulant. Sort of like giving you a speeding ticket because your car is red and it looks fast. There are many recorded cases where a person got out of a helmet ticket because neither the officer nor the judge could tell whether a helmet was actually DOT approved or not. In fact, unless you are a certified mechanical engineer with a lab full of equipment, it is impossible to tell whether it passes the test or not.

If the government is going to have a helmet law, they should:
1-set up a group that does the inspections like UL
2-make the DOT decals hard to copy like a drivers license
3-create a national list of approved helmets that the police can refer to on the side of the road
4-stop telling officers that all helmets should be made of 1" thick styrofoam

Then helmet suppliers could make helmets from new age materials that will be thinner and lighter while still being safer than the old styrofoam standard that makes you look and feel like a bobble head.
 

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According to NC state law and many other states as well, helmets have to pass a particular engineering spec (FMVSS218) to be approved. However, there is no national testing orginization that does this for all helmets. It is up to the manufacturer to do their own test. Unlike everything else from light switches to shampoo that is tested and certified by the UL, FDA, etc. The problems is that the DOT stickers are really nothing special and you can buy one in any local bike shop and stick it on any helmet. So the police know that people put DOT stickers on non-approved helmets.

Now for a real kicker, if you get pulled and the officer wants to check your helmet, how is he supposed to do it? Pull out his handy-dandy high tech super calibrated impact testing device which will destroy the helmet during the test? No, he can't do that. He either has to believe the possibly fake DOT sticker or go by the rule of thumb that many places have accepted which is 1 inch thick styrofoam. The problem is that it doesn't say anything about foam type or thickness in the FMVSS218 spec. So, if an officer gives you a ticket because your helmet wasn't "thick enough", the ticket is in itself fraudulant. Sort of like giving you a speeding ticket because your car is red and it looks fast. There are many recorded cases where a person got out of a helmet ticket because neither the officer nor the judge could tell whether a helmet was actually DOT approved or not. In fact, unless you are a certified mechanical engineer with a lab full of equipment, it is impossible to tell whether it passes the test or not.

If the government is going to have a helmet law, they should:
1-set up a group that does the inspections like UL
2-make the DOT decals hard to copy like a drivers license
3-create a national list of approved helmets that the police can refer to on the side of the road
4-stop telling officers that all helmets should be made of 1" thick styrofoam

Then helmet suppliers could make helmets from new age materials that will be thinner and lighter while still being safer than the old styrofoam standard that makes you look and feel like a bobble head.
There are a lot of states fighting the DOT approval helmet law because most laws don't state an approval rating needed, just that a helmet must be worn. I like my choice.
 

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Helmet laws

What I find is stupid is I live in Fl, If I drive my fullsize pickup and don't buckle my seat belt I can get a ticket for $150. But I can ride my bike all day long with flipflops tee shirt, shorts and no helmet.

I don't believe the state has a right to require either seat belts or helmets. Even though I never ride or drive without wearing either a seat belt or a helmet. I just don't like the govenment telling me what I can and can't do.
 

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Helmets don't save lives anyway o.0 Your brain is still going to impact your skull and ruin your life, regardless of how fancy your helmet is, unless it somehow thickens your brain fluid on impact. Helmets are just like leathers, they will protect you from minor things like road rash, and keep you looking pretty, but when it comes to stuff like broken bones or brain damage, they won't do a damn thing to help. Ride smart and ride comfortable imo.
 

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... but is there a test that measures how good they stay on?
I had a promotional DVD on helmet safety from SNELL showing their testing methods, and yes the Snell Foundation does test for how well the helmet stays on. It would be tricky to describe, this is one of those cases where the picture is worth 1000 words... but yes they do test for that at Snell. Not sure if that also applies to DOT or not.

All I can add is that the Snell testing is quite rigorous and thorough! It has to be a pretty good helmet to pass all their test methods. Of course the helmet won't save you from everything that can happen, but I still choose to wear one at all times while riding.
 

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$.02...
The government should NOT be legislating "common sense". Personal choice SHOULD be just that...personal. My personal choice is a full face Snell rated helmet. (It's a vanity thing...I'm too pretty to get messed up. lol.) In the event of an unscheduled dismount, I would like the opportunity to heal any wounds while still chewing hospital jello with my own teeth. I don't want my bike to be a "donorcycle".
 

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I personally think most laws are in place not to restrict or protect us so much but to disable people from being able to sue for their own dumb mistakes and decisions.
 
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