if you’re looking to buy or ride a motor scooter then you will definitely need to get your hands on a helmet.
there are so many to choose from and it can be quite challenging to decide which style is best for you.
You're reading: 9 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Motor Scooter Helmet
the motor scooter/cycle helmet has evolved astronomically since its canvas and shellac humble origins.
every year improvements in design, safety, weight and cosmetic style are being accomplished, it can all be a little tricky to keep up with.
in this article i’ve included 9 important answers to help you make the right decision.
what are the differences between motor scooter and motorcycle helmets?
one question which i used to ask was, is there a difference between helmets for scooters and motorcycles?
the simple answer is that there is no difference as far as scooter riders are concerned.
motor scooter riders can choose from any style of riding helmet depending on personal preference.
this includes, open face (aka three-quarter) helmets and full face helmets and half helmets.
the style a scooter rider wears is completely down to personal choice.
however there are certain helmet styles which are arguably better suited to particular scooter models as you’ll see in the next question.
what is the safest style of scooter helmet?
the safest form of motorcycle and scooter helmet is the full face style (no surprises there).
the full face helmet provides the maximum possible protection for your head and face upon impact.
not only does a full face helmet encase your entire skull during an accident, the closed visor and mouth guard also serve as protection for your eyes and mouth from flying debris.
for this reason, i am a big fan of using full face helmets while riding my scooter.
three-quarter or open face helmets are perfectly legal to use, but while some do offer flip down visors, they just don’t offer the same level of protection as the full faced equivalent.
in particular, i would recommend those riding larger engined motor scooters (150cc and above) to opt for a full-face helmet.
when reaching speeds of 50 mph and above it is much safer to ride with full face protection in case of an accident.
for 50cc enthusiasts in quiet areas, riding at low speeds, the open faced variety of helmet is an option, but i have always preferred to sacrifice aesthetic appearance for safety even on my 50cc scooter. i always opt for full face helmets.
can i wear a half helmet on a motor scooter?
yes you can, if you really want to, but for the same reason i discourage using an open face helmet, i’d urge you to choose a full face helmet instead.
the fact is, accidents do happen, and if you are involved in a collision or you slide off your scooter on a corner, how much protection does a half helmet offer?
the majority of scooter and motorcycle injuries recorded in the united states each year are facial injuries. many of these injuries could be avoided by using a full face helmet.
a half helmet offers even less protection than an open face helmet, so if you choose to use one, you do so at your own risk.
one further reason why half helmets are not the best choice in helmet is their lack of wind protection.
wind is an unsuspecting cause of numerous accidents on motor scooters.
opting to use a half helmet or an open face helmet invites dazzling sunlight, dust and dirt particles to come into contact with your eyes and face.
even a momentary lapse in vision or concentration can lead to an accident when travelling at speed.
wind can also obstruct your auditory senses. the ability to hear other vehicles and be aware of potential hazards is crucial to safety on your scooter.
the full face riding helmet eliminates this additional hazards, for that i strongly recommend it.
which us states legally require me to wear a scooter helmet?
scooter helmet laws vary from state to state. however, regardless of the law where you live or are riding, i urge you to wear one anyway.
there are currently (2019) three us states where no law exists forcing ‘low powered motorcycle’ riders, which includes scooter riders, to wear a helmet. those states are:
- new hampshire
the low powered motorcycle helmet law, making it illegal for all scooter riders to ride without a helmet is enforced in the following states:
- north carolina
- west virginia
- new jersey
- new york
- district of columbia
states with partial laws requiring certain riders to wear a helmet are as follows:
- hawaii (covers riders 17 and under)
- alaska (covers riders 17 and under)
- arizona (covers riders 17 and under)
- new mexico (covers riders 17 and under)
- kansas (covers riders 17 and under)
- oklahoma (covers riders 17 and under)
- colorado (covers riders 17 and under and passengers 17 and under)
- texas (covers riders 20 and under)
- arkansas (covers riders 20 and under)
- utah (covers riders 20 and under)
- michigan (covers riders 20 and under)
- kentucky (covers riders 20 and under)
- south carolina (covers riders 20 and under)
- florida (covers riders 20 and under)
- pennsylvania (covers riders 20 and under)
- idaho (covers riders 17 and under)
- montana (covers riders 17 and under)
- wyoming (covers riders 17 and under)
- north dakota (covers riders 17 and under)
- south dakota (covers riders 17 and under)
- minnesota (covers riders 17 and under)
- wisconsin (covers riders 17 and under)
- indiana (covers riders 17 and under)
- ohio (covers riders 17 and under)
- delaware (covers riders 18 and under)
- connecticut (covers riders 17 and under)
- rhode island (covers riders 20 and under)
how can you spot a bad scooter helmet?
when browsing for scooter helmets i always check for the following things.
is the helmet a polycarbonate or thermoplastic design? – these helmets serve as the primary defense upon impact and are made from the toughest materials on the market. if you find a helmet which isn’t made from these materials, i wouldn’t recommend it.
is the helmet lined with protective materials? the secondary line of defense in a scooter accident is the internal lining material. this lining cushions the impact upon your in an accident and can be life saving. it should be spongy yet rigid when pushed too hard. if your helmet is lacking this inner lining you should replace it.
does the helmet have a chin strap? this crucial addition ensures that your helmet remains in place during an accident. missing a strap could cause the helmet to fly off during an accident.
has this helmet been approved by an official helmet safety organization?
lastly and perhaps most importantly, make sure your helmet is approved by either the snell foundation, dot (u.s department of transportation), sharp (uk) aus +61404532026 in australia or the ece 22.05 (europe). these organizations only give the safest helmets their stamp of approval and i would never recommend using a helmet which has failed to pass these tests.
all approved helmets will demonstrate certification by one of these bodies, make sure you check your prospective helmet meets these requirements.
can you listen to music while riding a motor scooter?
yes, you can listen to music when riding a motor scooter. for those looking to add a soundtrack to their riding experience, i’d recommend purchasing a helmet with a built in headset.
a helmet comms (communication) system can be mounted into some helmet models, featuring speakers and a microphone, allowing a rider to speak via the phone hands-free and to listen to music as they ride by connecting a mobile phone or audio device to the helmet.
if your helmet doesn’t include a comms system, they are available to buy separately, just be sure to choose a compatible product for your helmet.
how many impacts can a scooter helmet take before being replaced?
bad news, you are going to need to replace your helmet after even the smallest impact or accident. simply dropping your helmet on the floor can have an effect on the integrity of a helmet’s shell.
even when your helmet appears to be fine after an impact, it may contain structural damage internally.
common helmet defects are discovered within the expanded polyester lining after a minor impact.
this expanded polyester lining is the protective material between the exterior shell and the softer interior lining of your helmet.
these defects can include hairline and stress fractures to the structure of the helmet.
these can be almost impossible to detect but can be lethal as the expanded polyester interior of your helmet is the part which absorbs the brunt of the impact during an accident and channels the force away from your head.
cracks and fractures in this lining render it weaker and unable to prevent the full force of an impact from reaching your head.
so, if your helmet has sustained an impact you are going to have to replace it i’m afraid.
a reminder too to take excellent care of your helmet if you don’t want to be replacing it every five minutes.
how do i know my scooter helmet size?
one of the most important things that you will need to decide is your scooter helmet size.
one of my biggest mistakes in the past when i was just starting out with scooters was picking up a scooter helmet one size too small.
every time i took my scooter out of the garage i started experiencing headaches because the inner lining of my scooter helmet was pinching the sides of my temple.
it was a painful nightmare and really deducted from my riding experience.
so, how can you avoid making the same mistake i made?
you will need to find a tape measure, place it around your forehead and wrap it all the way around.
take this measurement in centimeters, and compare against the chart provided below.
this should give you a perfect indication of the size of helmet you will need to buy.
can you buy scooter helmets second hand?
i’m sure you’ve probably been tempted to save a few dollars by buying a scooter helmet second hand. don’t do this.
as i mentioned before, previous impacts on riding helmets can cause unseen internal and structural damage.
why take the risk of picking out a potentially damaged and unsafe piece of headgear when buying a helmet for your scooter.
a rider selling a scooter helmet second hand is unlikely to tell you if the headgear has been involved in a prior accident.
even buying a helmet somebody that you know trust is not necessarily a good idea.
firstly, most helmets pick up little knocks and scrapes over time from regular use. as it is so difficult to identify if a helmet has suffered any structural damages, you shouldn’t take the risk.
secondly, if you’re going to be using a helmet on a regular basis, you are going to want find something comfortable, especially for long journeys.
in my experience, the helmets i have owned have all over time molded to the shape of my head. while this makes each of my helmets feel quite comfortable for me, i can’t imagine what kind of hell it would be or somebody else to put on one of my helmets for any sustained period of time.
my advice to you is to find your own scooter helmet new from a reputable brand in order to give yourself the peace of mind that your helmet is safe and isn’t carrying any hidden cracks.
find yourself a helmet that fits you perfectly, a helmet that won’t drive you crazy when you have to wear it for a long ride.