DOT Approved Helmets - What's the Problem?

What's the problem with DOT approved helmets? There's no such helmet! The U.S. Department of Transportation doesn't approve ...

What's the problem with DOT approved helmets?

There's no such helmet!

The U.S. Department of Transportation doesn't approve helmets.

I mention this in reponse to an article published by the Los Angeles Times today about updating federal standards for motorcycle helmets....

In this case, the author Susan Carpenter, who writes much of the LA Times motorcycle news, erred when writing the following quote...
2) Better labeling to make illegal, i.e. non-DOT-approved, helmets more easily identifiable to law enforcement.
Susan is trying to express her opinion that there ought to be a way to make non-DOT helmets easily recognized by law enforcement officers.

The problem is that there is no such thing as a "non-DOT" helmet. There is not even such a thing as a "DOT helmet" for that matter. The DOT simply sets the standards, and allows manufacturers to do their own certification. If a manufacturer determines that their helmet meets the DOT standards, they can put a "DOT" label on the helmet.

So, what if I were to manufacture baseball caps, just those plain old cloth hats that people like to wear, and sewn in the letters "DOT" on the back. Would that not also meet the State's helmet requirements?

Think about it. If manufacturers can make helmets that are "legal" in the eyes of the State, without having being tested or approved by the DOT, then what's to stop a baseball cap maker from sewing the letters "DOT" on the back?

Certainly, a wearing a baseball cap is better than not wearing anything at all, right?

That's what Richard Quigley was able to point out. Richard Quigley, who passed away last month, was able to ride his motorcycle wearing a baseball cap, with the letters "DOT" sewn on the back, and despite getting ticketed many times for it, was able to get those tickets dismissed, based on that argument.

What it boils down to is that there is no definition of what a helmet is. The fact is that many riders are wearing helmets right now, but yet are still getting ticketed for not wearing a "helmet". Make sense? If there is no helmet on Earth that can protect you 100%, in any situation, then how do you tell the difference between a helmet and a baseball cap?

Quigley may be gone, but he left behind a motorcycle rights organization that has done more to stop the unnecessary ticketing than any other MRO. Read more about them on their website...


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