So-called “novelty helmets” are increasingly popular among California motorcyclists.
Novelty helmets are motorcycle helmets that do not meet federal Department of Transportation safety standards. These helmets are typically cheaper than DOT-certified helmets and come in variety of fun designs and colors.
An estimated 800,000 novelty helmets are sold throughout the country, and many motorcyclist find novelty helmets to a fashionable alternative to the heavy DOT-certified helmets recommended for riders.
Novelty helmets are virtually useless in protecting a motorcyclist in the event of a crash, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Head impact tests using novelty helmets have shown a nearly 100% probability of brain injuries and/or skull fractures.
“In general, these helmets have little or no impact-attenuating lining inside their shells, they are not made to withstand the penetration requirements of FMVSS No. 218, and their retention systems do not ensure that the helmets stay fastened on motorcycle riders’ heads in the event of a crash,” the NHTSA revealed in a recent report (PDF).