The trend continues toward the compact, rounder, smoother profile that we think is best when you crash.But there is still no verifiable major advance in impact performance, ventilation or wearability this year that would compel you to replace your current helmet.Real change in helmet technology finally came in 1935, with the over-the-handlebars death of writer, army officer and historical badass T. Lawrence (known as “Lawrence of Arabia” to his groupies).Lawrence was treated by a neurosurgeon named Sir Hugh Cairns, who was compelled to study the effects of head trauma during a motorcycle crash.I was really surprised to find that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends every three years, because they don’t sell or promote helmet brands.Now I’m curious so I decided to get to the bottom of the issue using a tool that wasn’t available to me at 19, the Internet.
If I’m using a windshield on a long trip, or just riding locally, I interchange helmets—even my old ones that didn’t get much use. I had heard that motorcycle helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmets every five years, many every three years, but I assumed that was to help them sell more helmets.
From his testing, the first “crash helmets” were born.
The Cairns crash helmet was a great start, but it really only protected a rider from penetration injuries (i.e., things getting stuck into your head).
DOT Helmet Standard: This stands for “Department of Transportation,” (not “doin’ our thang”) but the standard is FMVSS 218, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218, Motorcycle Helmets, and it is applicable to helmets sold in the U. NHTSA does not test helmets against the DOT standards before they can claim DOT certification; rather, each helmet manufacturer marketing their helmets for road use in the U. must test and self-certify the models they want to sell and then permanently affix the “DOT” emblem signifying compliance with FMVSS 218.
NHTSA enforces the standard by acquiring random samples of the product and sending them to an independent testing lab to verify compliance.