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May is motorcycle safety awareness month, and rightly so. As the dreariness and cold of winter come to an end and spring brings warmer weather and longer days, more people are hitting the roads on their motorcycles. Motorcycles are an enjoyable hobby for many people in West Virginia and safety must always be a top priority. Throughout the month, we will have several blog posts concerning motorcycle safety.
Today we will discuss the importance of a safe helmet. Helmets save lives. West Virginia has a universal helmet law, meaning everyone on a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet. Additionally, eye protection is required unless a windshield or windscreen is present. If this law is violated, a person could be fined up to $100 and spend not more than 10 days in jail.
The United States Department of transportation requires that all motorcycle helmets meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS 218); defining a minimum level of performance that helmets must meet to protect the brain and head in case of a crash. Helmets should have a thick inner liner, a sturdy chin strap with solid rivets and should generally weigh about three pounds. DOT safety standards do not allow anything to extend more than 2/10th of an inchfrom the surface of the helmet. Designs similar to a skullcap or German Army style are clues to unsafe helmets. Helmets that meet the DOT requirements must have a sticker on the outside back of the helmet.
Riding a motorcycle can be enjoyable and safe. Remember to have the right helmet for you and your rider to ensure a safe ride.