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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
According to NHTSA statistics, in 2010, only 54 percent of motorcyclists wore a DOT-approved lid. Around 14 percent wore a novelty helmet, and 32 percent went without a helmet altogether. In 2009, those numbers were 67 percent, 9 percent and 24 percent. In 2010, 75 percent of riders who did elect to wear a helmet wore a DOT-compliant one. In 2009, that number was 86 percent.

FMVSS No. 218 includes energy attenuation, penetration resistance, chin strap structural integrity, and labeling requirements for on-road motorcycle helmets. According to NHTSA research published in 2004, wearing a helmet certified as conforming to FMVSS No. 218 reduces the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent. NHTSA says its tests of novelty helmets found that they failed all or almost all of the safety performance requirements in the standard.
Now, helmets that conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 will carry a sticker with the manufacturer's name, the helmet model and the words "DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified." The move to make helmets safer comes after the number of riders sporting unsafe and novelty brain buckets increased dramatically in 2010 over 2009.
 

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Nope. Mine just says DOT and has the model number. Better than nothing though and it's a full face so my face/chin is protected.
 

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I'm not 100% sure, but the OP made me wonder if the FMVSS was something new and I don't think it is. Perhaps the labeling is different, but I think a DOT helmet meets the FMVSS standard automatically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Remember a DOT sticker on the back of the helmet and proper inside labeling do not necessarily indicate that a helmet meets all DOT requirements. Many helmets have counterfeit DOT stickers and a limited few also have manufacturer’s labeling. But the design and weight of a helmet, thickness of the inner liner, and the quality of the chin strap and rivets are extra clues to help distinguish safe helmets from non-complying ones.
The standard has been in place since March 1, 1974
 

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I will only buy a Snell Approved lid anyway, so the DOT sticker is not that important to me personally.
 

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I will only buy a Snell Approved lid anyway, so the DOT sticker is not that important to me personally.
same here..motorcycle helmet manufacturers are sent spools of DOT stickers to slap on thier helmets..they are pretty much just a label that means nothing..no impact testing is done on most of the helmets with just the DOT sticker..SNELL is one of the endorsements that you can look for if you are concerned about wether or not your lid is being protected by a helmet that is tested..
 

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Here in the states we have to have at least a D.O.T. helmet, and I understand that a Snell rated helmet means it has passed a more stringent testing standard, but lately I have seen alot of ECE ratings on helmets for sale at my local bike shop. The dealer basically told me the ECE is Europe's equivalent of SNELL+DOT rolled into one. He also mentioned that SNELL was changing the tests to more closely resemble the ECE helmet tests. Any truth in all of this? Is an ECE rating as good or better then a SNELL rarting on a DOT helmet?
 

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Dot and Snell are not even acknowledged for us, must have Australian & New zealand AS/NZ1698 sticker and the lining label as well, or technically a cop can cut the chin strap and render your helmet useless (there have been test cases) here in WA.

This goes for the visor as well so legally tinted visors are out too unless stamped.

Track days and motorsports the same rules apply now too causing much confusion.

So anyone can get a Shoei 1100 or 1200 for $500 online and its useless.. they have to pay $1000 thru an australian shop.
 

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Here in the states we have to have at least a D.O.T. helmet, and I understand that a Snell rated helmet means it has passed a more stringent testing standard, but lately I have seen alot of ECE ratings on helmets for sale at my local bike shop. The dealer basically told me the ECE is Europe's equivalent of SNELL+DOT rolled into one. He also mentioned that SNELL was changing the tests to more closely resemble the ECE helmet tests. Any truth in all of this? Is an ECE rating as good or better then a SNELL rarting on a DOT helmet?
I read an article saying that the ECE is the more modern standard used in over 50 countries as the requirement..snell is an older standard which is why theyre changing thier tests to match up with the ECE..i guess it's to us to do a little research and make an informed desicion..
 

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Snell is the highest standard here in the US, and most, if not all US motorsport sanctioning bodies require a Snell approved helmet for use in competition.The original Snell label found inside the helmet, which has its own unique serial number for each helmet, must be the latest year designation for use in competition. Snell approved helmets sold today have 2010 on the label. The next Snell label will be 2015. Generally, Snell approved helmets will also have a manufacturer's label with the date of mfg.
Be forewarned, "closeout" helmets being sold and advertised as Snell approved, are expired with regard to the Snell "year" ie. 2005. And yes helmets DO have a shelf life.
I buy a new one every five years.

As may2nd, pointed out, a DOT sticker means very little, other than meeting some minimum protection criteria. In a nutshell, all US road legal helmets will have a DOT sticker, but not all will have a Snell Foundation approved label. The helmet manufacturer's who do, actually pay for the right to have Snell testing and approval.

Anyone who has shopped for a quality helmet knows that those carrying the Snell approved label cost more. Like everything else you get what you pay for.
A lot of people think that $300.00 to $500.00 US, or more is way too much to pay for a helmet. I do know this for a fact... the very best ER trama surgeons won't be able to repair a skull fracture for less than 100 times that, and that's if you are one lucky SOB . It's your head, you decide how much it's worth.
 

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I have a Snell 2010 approved helmet.

I didn't spend that much on it. Doesn't come with bells and whistles. But it works. I wear earplugs for wind noise from it.
 

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Motomike, How in the world does a helmet have a shelf life?? Not trying to be a smart***, honeslty wondering how. I thought as long as it hadn't taken any kind of impacts, even from a drop on the ground, that they were good? What on them wears out with time?
 

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The liner starts to get nasty. The foam protective stuff (technical term) starts to decompose. And it's a good time to spruce up the riding wardrobe anyhow.
 

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Motomike, How in the world does a helmet have a shelf life?? Not trying to be a smart***, honeslty wondering how. I thought as long as it hadn't taken any kind of impacts, even from a drop on the ground, that they were good? What on them wears out with time?
It's not a question of a helmet wearing out. High quality helmets, such as Shoei's, Arai's, and others are made with a composite weave, or matrix as they call it, which is similar in construction to the "old school" fiberglass helmets, but using modern composite material. As the helmet ages, so do the resins used to bind the composite layers, as well as the layers themselves. In time the helmet shell will become brittle, as it does the ability to absorb and disperse energy from an impact diminishes. What is interesting is that the really cheap, under $100.00 helmets are not made this way. They are injected molded polycarbonate shells, which won't necessarily age like a composite does, however the polycarbonate helmet, even when new does not have anywhere near the energy absorption that a composite matrix shell has during its useful life, or "shelf life". The inexpensive polycarbonate shell will crack like an egg shell from a hard impact, rather than absorb and disperse the impact energy. In fact, the high end helmets can take a substantial impact and not necessarily visibly show any damage. As you said in your post, just one drop onto a hard surface and its time for a new helmet. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people drop their helmet on a sidewalk. I doubt many of those get replaced. I'm amazed at how many motorcyclists you see riding with 30 - 40 years old helmets... aside from the safety aspect, can you imagine how nasty the inside of some of those lids are?

As others have pointed out, on a high end, quality helmet you can remove and hand wash the liner when it gets so funky that it is no longer allowed in the house. Most of the cheaper helmets have marginal interiors to begin with, and some may not even be removable. An easy way to extend the time between liner washing, is to put wadded up newspaper inside the helmet after your ride. It will draw out and absorb the moisture from the liner... might give it a try, it works.
 
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