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Many motorcycle riders in California like to pay attention to both their appearance and their pocketbook. However, when buying a helmet, riders should never choose price or fashion over form and quality.

Not every helmet that is available for purchase will do a good job of protecting a motorcycle rider in the event of a serious accident. Many establishments sell so-called "novelty helmets" that come in a variety of interesting styles and are sold at a lower price. However, most of these helmets do not meet the safety standards set by the federal government.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study of several models of non-certified helmets and found that they offer almost no protection at all. Each model left a rider with a 100 percent chance of sustaining brain injury or skull fracture in a motorcycle accident. In the wake of the study, the NHTSA said that wearing a novelty helmet is essentially the same as wearing nothing at all.

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