Make sure your helmet is DOT (Department of Transportation) approved. This certifies that the helmets have been through extensive testing and meet minimum safety guidelines. Do not wear novelty helmets that are not DOT approved.
Helmets should have an inner liner usually about one-inch thick of firm polystyrene foam. Sometimes the inner liner will not be visible, but you should be able to feel its thickness.
Depending on design, unsafe helmets weigh only one pound or less while helmets that comply with safety standards generally weigh about three pounds.
Full-face helmets provide the best protection. Helmets should be as snug as possible without being “tight”. Shake your head up and down, side to side. The helmet should not easily move around.
Cost will vary based on manufacturer, design, features such as venting, full face versus other variations, and other factors. There are definitely a lot of great sales from reputable parts, accessories, and motorcycle dealerships, so you should be able to get a helmet to fit your style and budget that still meets safety requirements for a reasonable price.
Try it on. It’s just like buying new shoes or boots in the sense that you need to walk around with it on for at least ten minutes to make sure it’s comfortable, snug, well vented, and doesn’t have any other quirks that will make you regret your purchase.
If your helmet doesn’t have a visor, get some form of eye protection because bugs or any other flying objects can cause severe damage otherwise.
If you’ve had a crash with your helmet, you must replace it even if there is no evidence of cracks; it’s not designed for multiple hits. Also, if your helmet is getting old (some recommend over five years), you should replace it as well.
There are a lot of quality helmet manufacturers whose products are available in Ontario. Some of the most common manufacturers are Shoei, HJC, Bell, Nolan, Scorpion, and of course Arai and Harley Davidson.
One great place to buy a helmet is, of course, your motorcycle dealership. Your motorcycle dealer knows a lot about helmets, deals in quantities that make the prices competitive, and is reputable. The last point is very important, because you want to be sure you are in fact getting the protection that you desire and need.