Are lightweight helmets safe?
While the early pioneers of biking may not have given a lot of thought to safety, it was the notoriously dangerous Isle of Man TT Race that prompted the first calls for the use of helmets. Faced with an increasing number of head injuries, British physician Dr. Eric Gardner came up with the first dedicated motorcycle helmet. Made up of little more than padding covered with a hard shellac outer layer, it was not particularly impressive by today's standards, but it was a start. It saved some riders from serious injuries and brought the concept that a rider's head needed protection into mainstream thinking.
Since those early days, things have evolved, and advances have come in the form of materials such as fiberglass, kevlar, polycarbonate, ABS and carbon fiber. These composite materials are often spin-offs from aerospace, military and motorsport technology, where lightweight and tough characteristics are often crucial. This means that the modern biker can now have the full protection that common sense and many state laws demand but without the burden of heavy, tiresome helmets.
Are lightweight helmets safe? Here's what you need to know.
DOT-approved is the way to go
First things first: a helmet is safe if it has that all-important DOT certification. All our Beanie-style helmets, such as this Blister 180, are DOT-approved. They are a lightweight, stylish alternative for riders who are tired of that mushroom-headed look that mainstream helmets offer. The use of high-grade materials like ABS and fiberglass means you get the protection you need while keeping a sleek, low profile.
The ultra-tough outer shell has a hard surface designed to protect against piercing or penetration. Unlike some materials used in helmet construction, it has high abrasion resistance in case it comes into contact with the highway. In the event of an impact, it is designed to compress, dispersing the force of the impact around the helmet, dissipating the shock to the head and reducing trauma.
The softer polystyrene inner lining will further compress, reducing the effect any impact has on the head. These factors all work together to provide good protection, but it is important that your helmet is the right size for you. A good, snug fit is required for all of this to work as it should. If the helmet is loose, your head will be shaken around on impact, while an overly tight helmet will not sit correctly on your head. Always take care with measurements when buying a new helmet.
You can choose the perfect helmet here. Needless to say, after an accident, a helmet should not be worn again, which is why we offer our U.S. customers a free replacement. You only pay the shipping costs should you go down in one of ours. See our Exchange Warranty and Return Policy for details.
The advantages of a lightweight DOT-approved helmet
All DOT-approved helmets will offer you protection. Indeed, most states have now made it a requirement for a motorcyclist to wear DOT-approved headgear. To get DOT approval, a helmet needs to prove it can withstand penetration, be able to absorb the energy of an impact (dissipation), and have a peripheral vision of 105 degrees from the middle of the helmet. Projections from the surface of the helmet must not exceed 5mm (1/4 of an inch).
There are a few extra advantages a lightweight beanie-style helmet has over other styles of helmets. Some full-face helmets can weigh more than 4 pounds. This may not sound like much, especially if you are only riding a couple of blocks. But on a long journey through twists and turns and leaning through corners, that is a lot of extra weight your neck is having to haul from side to side, hour after hour. It soon mounts up and can be pretty tiring, and a tired biker can be an unsafe biker. Tiredness, loss of focus, irritation and stress can all contribute to accidents.
Our DOT-approved beanie-style hats weigh less than a standard bottle of water. You have nothing to restrict your peripheral vision in them, either, improving spatial awareness. There really is a sense of freedom you won't get with other helmets, certainly for cruisers who want to feel part of the street. You can wear them with your favorite pair of shades for an even more individual look. They are increasingly popular with young and older bikers alike. They recall the golden days of American biking, and you can really channel that vintage look with these, although they also look great in a modern setting.
Check out this carbon-fiber effect Beanie-Style Helmet for the ultimate in clean, modern styling. This helmet is reversible for even more versatility. The peak can give you sun protection when worn at the front, or it can be reversed for that low-slung aerodynamic look. The profile of these helmets is perfect so you really can wear them your way. These are sleek, low-profile, no-fuss helmets for real bikers.
Beauty isn't just skin deep
Sometimes there is more to safety than meets the eye. Think of an Indy or Formula 1 racing car, which is made of ultra-lightweight materials. These cars are so much stronger than regular steel vehicles. Drivers often walk away from huge impacts, proving that lightweight doesn't mean weak or unsafe; it's all about the quality of the materials used, the design and the testing.
We have ultra-lightweight helmets in a range of designs with plenty of cool finishes, from flat black to carbon fiber effect. They come with a special safety strap to keep the helmet securely on your head but with the added benefit of a quick-release system for ease of removal. They are available in a range of sizes, from 2X Small to 2X Large, so there's something for all shapes and sizes. Moreover, their compact style means that these helmets can be easily stowed when not in use.
Always ensure your helmet is the right size. We have a measuring guide and a quick quiz you can take to match you up with that dream lid. It's fun and easy to use, so why not check it out? We've come a long way from those early days of biking, and the safety benefits of a well-fitting helmet are all too clear. Why not explore our site and discover the style and safety benefits of the Micro Dot range of helmets?
The bottom line is that a lightweight helmet can certainly be safe if it is DOT-approved and certified and comes with a range of benefits for the rider.