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Does it matter which helmet style I choose?

If you are interested in riding a motorized vehicle, the first step to take before practicing is purchasing a helmet. Study after study has shown that wearing a helmet saves lives.

However, did you know that it matters which helmet you use? Certain styles have higher safety ratings than others. However, some helmets can still offer sufficient coverage if they're paired with other safety accessories. Here's a few things to know when looking for what's right for you.

Types of helmet styles

There are generally six different types of helmet styles:

  • Full Face -- The full face helmet is generally rated as the safest style. This type of helmet uses a visor to protect your eyes and covers your entire head (including your chin).
  • Modular-- Sometimes called flip-up helmets, these helmets are the same as the full face model, except the chin bar and visor can flip upward. With the full face exposed, riders are less protected.
  • Off-road -- These helmets are also similar to the full face helmet, except that the visor is usually bigger and the helmet is designed for better airflow. These are safe to use off-road, but often don't provide the eye protection needed for highway riding.
  • Half-- A half helmet covers just the top of your head and is usually regarded as the least safe model. Since the front or sides of your face could be in danger in a crash, it's not a good idea to use this helmet to ride at fast speeds.
  • Open Face -- Also called the ¾ model, the open face helmet is designed to function like a modular helmet, without the capability of flipping down the chin bar and visor. Instead, the ¾ helmet does not have a visor or chin bar, leaving the face open.
  • Dual Sport-- A dual sport helmet has the air ventilation advantages of an off-road helmet, while also offering the protection of a full face helmet. They're designed to offer more eye protection too.

How you ride

When considering which of these helmets is best for you, you should think about the way you intend to use your motorized vehicle. If you're planning on using a bicycle, e-bike or e-scooters on the road, you're not likely to reach high speeds.

However, if you'll be traveling on a motorcycle down the highway or up and down uneven terrain on a mountain or sport bike, investing in a more substantial helmet will be worth your money.

Eye protection

If you choose a helmet that does not have a visor, be sure to use safety glasses, goggles or sunglasses as an alternative to protect your eyes.

For those who do have a visor, make sure you still have sunglasses or goggles to wear depending on whether your visor is tinted or not. Your eye protection should not restrict your sight.

Look for the right fit

While trying on helmets, make sure the helmet can be secured snugly to your head. A helmet that slides around when you move your head will not keep you safe in a crash. Similarly, if a helmet is too small, it can impact your ability to ride safely too.

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