It's important to wear a helmet when you ride. A helmet protects you from noise, rain, snow, hail and bugs. It could also save your life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that wearing a helmet improves your odds of surviving a crash by 37 percent [source: Cobb].
You'll find half helmets, three-quarter helmets, full-face helmets and combination designs. Whatever the style, helmets are constructed with four basic components: an outer shell, an impact-absorbing lining, comfort padding and a strap. In the U.S., all helmets must meet Department of Transportation (DOT) safety standards. So, be sure to look for the DOT labeling.
Beyond that, one of the most important considerations when choosing a helmet is the fit. Too loose and it could cause a neck injury. Too tight and you'll get a headache. With the right fit, you won't feel comfortable riding without it.
To keep up with the growing female motorcyclist population, helmet manufacturers now offer women even more choices than men. Helmets come in a variety of colors, including pink, and sport decorations such as butterflies, flowers and hearts.
While helmet colors and graphics set women's helmets apart, it's the sizing that really matters. Women's helmets are smaller and more lightweight. Deeper, narrower shells fit the shape of a woman's head, and a variety of side panel thickness sizes helps achieve that custom fit. You'll also find women's helmets with a ponytail notch and washable, antistatic lining to reduce helmet hair.