What Is the Difference Between ECE, Snell, & DOT Certifications?

posted by Chris Valentine

Motorcyclists enjoy the freedom of riding unconfined in open spaces, of letting loose and flying along a trail or a winding road. At the same time, most also appreciate the feeling of security the right protective gear can provide, as for example the best motorcycle jackets for men. However, nothing is more important for men and women than wearing the appropriate helmet for your type of riding. These tips will help you choose a helmet you can wear with confidence.

How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Helmet for Your Riding Style

Motorcycle helmets are made in different configurations to fit the kind of riding you do. The profile and features of a helmet designed for a motocross racer would make the shell out of place on the head of a weekend road rider. Full-face, one-piece helmets with visors offer the most protection and are ideal for concrete and asphalt road conditions. These units have a solid chin bar that covers the lower portion of your face, and so they would cushion a significant portion of your face at the point-or-contact.

Two variations of full-face helmets fill different needs: Modular helmets also cover the face but the chin bar can be flipped up; because they sport a hinge-point rather solid construction, they are slightly less protective in this area than a full-face helmet. They are shaped optimally for more upright riding positions. Motocross, or adventure, helmets have extended chin-bars and other features that enhance airflow for enhanced cooling, while still providing full protection.

For wind-on-the-skin riding, an open-face helmet would suffice. They are less protective, but they can be fitted with a shield to keep bugs and other elements out of your mouth and eyes. These helmets are appropriate for casual street and trail use. Open-face half helmets cover only the top of your head, providing far less protection while eliminating visor attachments. You see them on the heads of scooter riders and others seeking a stylish look.

What Are the Differences Between a Women’s Motorcycle Helmet & a Man’s

Men and women riders can certainly wear the same helmets. The heads of both need the same level of protection for similar riding styles. However, many women’s motorcycle helmets sport colors and patterns that have traditionally been targeted to women. Also, for either women or men who have limited neck strength, a lighter helmet will reduce long-term soreness and fatigue.

What is the Importance of Certification

  • Helmets are designed to pass one of the following certification standards:
  • Department of Transportation
  • Snell Memorial Foundation
  • European Community of Europe

DOT helmets are those that pass minimum government-set standards. While not the most stringent, this certification is required for street riding. Snell is not a government standard, but it is relatively strict and does represent a safe product. ECE standards include some requirements that others do not have to meet. Ideally, a helmet will sport stickers reflecting certification by more than just one of the three.

You may be the kind of cycle rider that resents the feeling of a heavy object encircling your head. After all, motorcycle riding represents freedom from constraints. However, if you choose the right helmet for your riding style and needs, the security that comes from wearing it will eventually lead you to look forward to donning it for your ride.

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