Photo © by Jeff Dean

Spring is in the air, and to motorcyclists in New York and Pennsylvania, that means one thing – After another LONG winter it’s finally time to put the shovels away and get ready to ride!

Most bikers give their bikes a thorough spring check-up, and they should, but what about your helmet?

As a motorcycle accident lawyer, I see first hand the protection helmets can provide.  Bikers who wear a properly fitted full face helmet may have bruised, broken and scraped up bodies, but their faces are still in one piece.  I have also seen bikers with half helmets or skid lids have their face chewed up by the road.  Regardless of what type of helmet the biker is wearing or what the circumstances of the collision may be, the one constant is that when a biker hits the road, their head hits the road.  The quality and condition of that helmet determines the extent of injury the biker will sustain to their face and head.

So, knowing that your helmet is the last line of defense between your head and the road, it sure makes sense to spend a couple minutes checking over your helmet at the start of the season.  Here’s how you should do it.

Be sure to give your helmet a careful visual inspection for damage. Look for cracks and chips on the outer shell and face shield, then check the inside of the shell for damage. Check the liner and padding for signs of wear.

Then check the retention system, or chin strap, for signs of fraying, damage or wear.

If any trouble spots are evident during your visual inspection, perhaps it’s time to replace your helmet. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends replacing helmets, even if they are not damaged, every two to four years. When did you buy your last helmet?

If you’ve dropped the helmet or the helmet has suffered any impact, it should be replaced immediately. The impact may have damaged the impact-absorbing liner, and that damage may not be evident in your inspection.

Remember that a helmet’s protective impact-absorbing liner gets flattened with use, often leading to improper fit and helmet deterioration that can pose unanticipated dangers to you. Hair oil, sweat and even the sun’s UV rays can add to that deterioration.

Wearing a good helmet saves lives. Operators and passengers are required by law to wear helmets in New York state. Pennsylvania law requires operators or riders under 21 to wear helmets. Operators 21 and over who have been riding for at least two years or have completed an approved safety course are not required to wear helmets.

Thanks for reading, and ride safe!


ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062