Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable on the roadways of Alabama due to their lack of protection. In addition to defensive driving tactics, the appropriate safety gear can also make a difference between life and death in a motorcycle accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motorcycle helmets approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation can lower the chances of a head injury by 69 percent, and they reduce the risk of fatality by 37 percent. Alabama is one of the states that has a universal helmet law requiring all riders to wear one.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists characteristics of DOT-approved helmets that are designed to prevent head injuries. These include the following:
- Firm polystyrene foam inner liner, approximately one inch thick
- Nothing extending beyond two-tenths of an inch from helmet surface
- Sturdy chinstrap
- Roughly three pounds in weight
The American National Standards Institute and Snell are organizations with standards that are equal to the federal safety standards, and they typically place their labels inside an approved helmet. A DOT sticker must be on the back of a helmet that meets the standards, but the NHTSA warns that there are manufacturers that provide false stickers. However, a close inspection of the interior and exterior of the helmet will typically be enough to determine if the sticker is official.
Recently, the Decatur Daily noted that Alabama legislators have passed a law that places autocycles under the same regulations as motorcycles, so those who ride these three-wheeled vehicles are subject to the same helmet laws.