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Apparel Pro: Half Helmets

As someone who’s lived in Alabama most of her life, I’m used to people from other states giving Alabama — or the South in general — a hard time. There are stereotypes that the South is slow to change or even backwards-thinking and that it prioritizes freedom over collective safety. So, maybe it will come as a surprise that, compared to other regions of the U.S., the Southeast has a very high concentration of states with laws mandating the use of motorcycle helmets for all ages. 

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According to Personal Injury Attorney Edgar Snyder & Associates, of those states, only Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina have laws with an age requirement, and even then, they mandate helmet usage until age 21, whereas many other states have younger age limits. 

It may also come as a surprise that there are still two states in the U.S. with no motorcycle helmet laws: Illinois and Iowa. Illinois presents a bit of an odd case, however. While the state does not require riders or passengers to wear helmets, it does mandate that they protect their eyes with glasses, goggles or a transparent shield. As for Iowa, the state actually repealed its mandatory helmet law in 1976.

In total, 22 states mandate everyone wears helmets, two have no laws, and the remaining 26 have age requirements. But, if you’re selling to an adult rider in those 28 free-riding states, why would you let them take the chance? If you would wear a seatbelt in a car to help protect you in case of an accident, why wouldn’t you use a helmet in the same way on another high-speed, motorized vehicle?

Understandably, it can be exhilarating to feel the wind blasting your face and running through your hair, and in that case, a full-faced helmet may feel too heavy for some riders. But, riders still need protection, so as a dealer, you should convince customers to at least purchase half helmets, which are crafted to feel as lightweight as possible. It’s important that such helmets are DOT-rated/approved, and ones that surpass the recommended rating are even better. 

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While a standard half helmet may simply come with adjustable straps, others have a comfort liner on the straps and/or cheek pads, the latter of which may be removeable for washing, as they are intended to wick away sweat and keep the face cool. In addition, some half helmets feature vents on the top of the helmet to promote cooling. Half helmets, by definition, are meant mainly to cover the crown of the skull, but some have small visors over the front lip of the helmet to cut down on glare while others feature sunshields to fully cover the eyes.

For those who want a bit more protection without going for full-faced helmets, a ¾ helmet or open-face helmet may be the way to go. Although these lightweight helmets have no face shields, they provide more coverage around the back and base of the skull as well as over the ears and cheeks. The entire inside of the helmet can be lined with impact-absorbing or moisture-wicking material, which may also removeable for washing. Some helmets even come with factory-installed radio communication. 

Finally, if you’ve got a customer looking for the best of both worlds, be sure to offer helmets with removable muzzles, which turn full-face helmets into open-face ones. 

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