Man Killed in Motorcycle Accident Was Not Wearing a Legal Helmet
As we periodically remind people here at Earnhart Law, motorcycle helmets save lives. In fact, they can reduce the chances of death by 37% and reduce the likelihood of suffering a brain injury by nearly 70%, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These numbers alone should motivate all bikers to head out and purchase a helmet.
However, a recent crash reported by Local 10.com in Hollywood, Florida is a reminder that not any old helmet will do. Instead, you need one that has satisfied certain safety specifications.
Helmet Not in Compliance
According to police reports, Jorge Melendez was riding a motorcycle on March 13, 2019 at 9:45 in the evening. At the intersection of Park Street and 64th Avenue, Melendez was struck by a teenager driving a 2016 Ford Explorer.
At impact, the motorcycle’s front wheel was crushed inward, causing the tire to separate from the rim. As the front of the motorcycle was pushed inward, the gas tank was pushed upward. Mr. Melendez died in the crash.
Now, the media is reporting a new wrinkle: Melendez was not wearing a safe helmet at the time of collision. According to the police, his helmet did not meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications. He was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital.
Is Your Helmet Safe?
If you are shopping for a new motorcycle helmet, then you should make sure that it is DOT certified. Check the back of the helmet, which should have a sticker identifying the certifications. If you don’t see the sticker, then you shouldn’t buy the helmet.
The DOT certification standards are set by the federal government. Every helmet must pass certain impact tests. For example, the helmet will be placed on a dummy, which is then dropped from different heights. Instruments measure the amount of force generated when the dummy lands on an anvil.
Other tests measure whether anything can penetrate the helmet and whether the helmet will side off during impact. If a helmet doesn’t pass all tests, it won’t pass the federal certification process. Buying a DOT-certified helmet is the single best thing a biker can do to protect their safety.
What about Other Certifications?
There are other certifications, namely Snell and ECE (which stands for Economic Commission for Europe). Both have more rigorous specifications than the Department of Transportation. The ECE standards, in particular, are used by many countries around the world, so helmets that meet these certifications should be safe.
At a minimum, get a helmet that fits your head and meets DOT criteria. For added safety, you can buy a helmet that also meets additional standards.
Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Crash?
At Earnhart Law, we represent injured bikers when someone else slams into them, causing injury. If you’ve been in an accident with a car or commercial vehicle, we can help.