A motorcycle helmet is probably the single most important piece of safety equipment for anyone riding on or driving a motorcycle. In the event of a crash, that helmet protects your head from the trauma of impact and from road rash and other serious injuries.

Louisiana is one of many states that requires that everyone riding a motorcycle on public roads must wear a helmet. The state requires that all drivers and passengers on motorcycles sport a safety helmet secured in place by a chin strap. This rule also applies to children passengers, who must be at least five years old and have an appropriately-sized helmet when they ride.

A helmet could save your life and drastically reduce the injuries you suffer if you get into a motorcycle crash. If you’re going to invest in and wear a helmet, you want to make sure that you’re maximizing the return on your investment. How do you pick the right helmet for your needs?

Determine the style that will best suit you

There are a number of common styles available for motorcycle helmets, including full or partial head coverage styles, and various sizes and attachments for visors or face protection. There are dual sport helmets that look futuristic and vintage-looking half-shell helmets, meaning there’s a style for your personal aesthetic and riding needs. Talk to other people to determine what helmet style is most effective for your needs.

Always look for Department of Transportation stickers

Not all helmets are created equal. Some are subject to substantially more scrutiny in the manufacturing process because they receive Department of Transportation certification.

Looking for DOT stickers and approval stamps on packaging or literature will help you find helmets that meet the highest standards for safety. There are also European Union safety certifications (ECE22.05) and Snell certification, so named for a race driver who died due to head injuries.

Always test for a proper fit

Ensuring that a helmet is secure on your head is critical to its performance. You may need to try several sizes or even change styles to find one that fits you as it should. Don’t compromise when it comes to fit. In some cases, you may need to add or even remove foam to accommodate hairstyles or other unique aspects of your head.

You may need multiple helmets for different uses, and you should expect to replace your helmet every few years or any time you get into a crash, as a collision could reduce the helmet’s structural integrity in the event of a future wreck.

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