Different helmets do different things. There are hard hats on construction and heavy-industry heads; football helmets on athletes’ heads, Kevlar® caps on military heads and DOT certified helmets on motorcyclist heads.
None are interchangeable. However, the motorcyclist in this photo might disagree.
On the weekend I was driving on Highway 217 and came upon this motorcyclist flashing some new reflectivity protective head gear – a University of Oregon football helmet!
I’m not sure if this “learning moment” is one where we ridicule his fashion faux pas or criticize the multiple color combinations of motorcycle, helmet, shirt, pants, socks and shoes, and how they’ll never pass the Nike-design standard. But, most concerning is the specific amount of retroreflective material on the helmet and how it may well exceed state standards!
Yep, a number of states have exact information on the location and number of square inches of retroreflective material required on motorcycle helmets. I’m currently researching this fun fact and will report an update when I learn if Oregon has such a requirement embedded in the helmet law.
Motorcycle helmets are very sophisticated and specialized for an activity. They’ve been developed carefully and scientifically over the years and wearing a DOT helmet properly strapped on your head is mandatory in the state of Oregon. If you want to read more about Oregon helmet laws go HERE. If you’re interested in helmet standards go HERE. The NHTSA is proposing to amend several aspects of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218, Motorcycle Helmets HERE.
But, this is all a moot point, because this “safety-minded motorcyclist” just planted another seed of doubt in the minds of non-riders – some who already question the rationale of motorcycle ownership in general – that wearing a football helmet means motorcyclists are not responsible people; we don’t take ourselves and motorcycling serious and no matter what the law says, it’s about projecting an attitude…
We’ve heard this tune before. Many call it stupid and other’s will call it living.
Photo taken by author.