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Motorcycle Novelty Helmet = “Call Me Stupid”


Motorcycle Novelty Helmets


So, what the heck is a novelty motorcycle helmet?  Stated concisely, it’s a very cheap helmet.  Typically, it’s styled to look like a “half helmet” which is also called a “shorty.”

By the way, even though “half helmets” provide considerably less protection than an open face or full face helmet, they are legal and certified.  In other words, just because a helmet has a brief profile, does not mean it’s a novelty helmet.  (It’s how the thing is constructed that determines whether it is intended to protect a rider’s head, or not, in the event of a crash).


Novelty helmets are not legal as motorcycle head protection in US states that require riders to wear a helmet.  Some novelty helmets even have disclaimers stating that the helmet is not intended for street use, or that it is not meant to be used as safety equipment, or that it is for display purposes only.  As well, novelty helmets may have no labeling at all.

Making matters more interesting, some novelty helmets even have bogus “certification,”  such as a DOT (Department of Transportation”) sticker.  Typical novelty helmets are so pronouncedly cheap and insubstantial compared to a real motorcycle helmet, that it’s hard to imagine a rider being fooled by such a ruse.  If you buy a helmet from a reputable dealer or online store, novelty helmets are clearly sold as a “novelty.”

Novelty helmets simply present an “appearance” that the rider is wearing a certified crash-protection motorcycle helmet, to avoid receiving a citation from authorities.  (In states and countries where helmet use is mandatory, it’s pretty obvious when a rider is “not” wearing one.)


These cheap helmets are not manufactured with the energy-absorbing liners that protect a rider’s brain in the event of an impact.

In some motorcycle cultures, a novelty helmet may reflect a rebellious “in your face” reaction against a mandatory helmet law.   I’m not making a statement on whether mandatory helmet laws are a good or bad thing, but if you are going to wear a helmet at all, why not benefit from the intended purpose of the thing in the event of an unplanned get off?

In my mind, novelty helmets are analogous to the Tshirts that say “I’m with Stupid,” except in this case I imagine a red arrow pointing from the novelty helmet to the wearer’s head.




  • jenn said:

    sure novelty helmets dont offer the protection of a dot approved helmet, and as long as the rider is aware of that when making the choice, then it is just that….their choice(as long as their state laws allow). but consider this, a dot approved beanie, aka turtle shell, better known to the police as “the brain bucket”, will not offer you the protection of a full face or even a 3/4 helmet. if one wrecks their bike while wearing a beanie, the top of your head will stay intact… hence the term “brain bucket”. But who knows if your head will still be attached! anytime one rides a bike they are taking a chance. anytime one starts their car, they are taking a chance. anytime you roll out of bed you are taking a chance! me personally, i once wore a beanie dot helmet, but now wear a novelty helmet. everytime i get on the back of the bike i wonder, is this my day to go. i have always thought that….even with a dot helmet on my head! if my body leaves the bike at 70 mph, i have just become a flying projectile traveling at the rate of 70 mph. on the quietest of backroads how many trees, roadsign posts, guard rails, or oncoming vehicles could i possibly come in contact with during my ejection from my bike. something that only covers the top of my head, as a beanie does (or any helmet for that matter) will not save my limbs, will not protect my heart or lungs from my cracked ribs, will not keep my face where it belongs, will not stop my body from forcefully striking any fixed or moving object in my path. i once asked my husband, “if we were in a wreck today, and i lost my face, would you still have me?” his response, “if we were in a wreck today, and i lost my face, would you still have ME?” that was all the freedom i needed to love the time we spend on our bike….. in our novelty helmets!

  • Motorcycle Novelty Helmets « motorcycle gifts said:

    […] Novelty Helmets By MC-G The subject of “Motorcycle Helmets” is a controversial area among bikers. Heck, it’s controversial among non-bikers who […]

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