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Discount Motorcycle Helmets Should Offer Maximum Protection

By Tom Sample

Everyone likes getting a great deal, but when it comes to motorcycle helmets, saving a few dollars shouldn't be more important than ensuring the purchase is a sound one. Safety helmets for motorcycle users are the law in many states, optional in others. Discount motorcycle helmets are a good option for those that need to save cash, but it's important to make sure the purchase is sound.

Motorcycle helmets are meant to protect the head, and in the case of those with visors, the eyes as well. This is particularly important since the head and eyes are very vulnerable on people who ride motorcycles. There are myths that exist that say helmets can break necks, block vision and impair the hearing of the wearer, but these are simply myths. Especially so if the helmet is rated for safety and is properly fit to the wearer.

A good helmet, no matter the price, will protect a rider's head and in conjunction with educational courses, can save a life, too. Helmets work for a number of reasons with the four standard components coming together to provide maximum protection. The typical helmet has the following parts:

* Outer shell. This is the visible part of the helmet.

* Impact-absorbing liner. This is located inside the shell and offers cushions to absorb shocks instead of your head.

* Comfort padding. This is the visible foam/cloth layer that rests on the head. It helps make the helmet more comfortable and also provides a more snug fit, or should.

* Retention. This is the chin strap. This is important because it keeps the helmet in place in the event of a crash.

Choosing a good helmet, discount or otherwise, should be a careful process. Although the outer appearance will no doubt catch attention, what's inside is the most important. Protection should be the first consideration.

When looking at helmets, there are a few different options. They include:

* Solid face coverage. This type of helmet has a full-face visor that offers the most protection for the face. The shield is generally moveable and provides good coverage for the eyes as well.

* Three-quarter. This type of helmet is considered an "open face" helmet. It doesn't offer the chin and face the protection of a total coverage model. Open-face helmets can come with snap-on shields or some riders opt to go with goggles to protect their eyes. Eye protection is not only important for obvious reasons, but also because road hazards such as stones or even bugs can cause visibility issues and even injury and accidents.

* Half-helmets. These protect almost none of the head and have a tendency to come off in a crash.

Helmets that provide the best protection are rated for doing so. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Snell Memorial Foundation both test helmets and give their seals of approval to those that meet a few test requirements. Look for these endorsements.

Once you've checked out helmets and made sure they have DOT or Snell ratings, or both, it's important to make sure a helmet fits correctly. Make sure what you buy not only offers protection, but is comfortable and doesn't block vision.

Using a helmet is not only the law in a number of states, it's a smart way to go. Motorcycling can be fun, but there are a few dangers that go along with it. Helmets can reduce at least a few of the dangers.

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