Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Motorcycle Half Helmets Or Shorty Helmets And What You Should Look For

Motorcycle half helmets, or "shorty" helmets are basically shaped like half a sphere. The front is like an open face helmet, but the back is raised as well, giving the helmet a bowl shape. While there are half helmets approved by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), there are as yet no half helmets that meet Snell standards. Riders who wear half helmets give up some degree of safety, so it is extremely important that they fit properly and meet DOT standards so that the rider gets the most protection possible from his or her half helmet.

That said, there are many riders, particularly riders of choppers or cruisers, who love the look of half helmets and enjoy the feeling of freedom they give on a bike. Half helmets can be much more comfortable in warm weather, particularly if they include vents. For colder weather, some half helmets come with detachable earmuffs and neck curtains. Half helmets may have a snap-on visor, or a semblance of a visor built in to the structure of the helmet itself. Some take face shields and some feature goggle straps on the back.

Polo style half helmets have the visor built into the profile of the helmet itself, but there are half helmets with no visor at all, and that may or may not accommodate snap-on visors. Beanie style half helmets are very simple, and that's just the way some riders like them. Other advantages of half helmets include their much lighter weight, the fact that the lines of the helmets do not interfere with peripheral vision. At low speeds, half helmets allow riders to hear traffic better and communicate with other riders better in the absence of electronic communications systems.

Disadvantages of motorcycle half helmets mainly center around the lower degree of protection they offer because the rider's chin and face are exposed. They can be cold in cold weather, even with earmuffs. Half helmets without shields or visors provide no vision protection, so goggles or glasses are recommended for optimal vision and protection. Riders should bear in mind that two-thirds of multiple vehicle motorcycle crashes are the results of the other vehicle violating the motorcycle's right of way, and that appropriate safety gear cuts down greatly on crash injuries.

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