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Helmets are the most important part of a biker's attire. They are also required by law in many states and counties, and wearing one is common sense, since they protect the most important part of your body. Helmets that are sold commercially must be approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and DOT approved helmets are the only ones that you should wear.
When a helmet is DOT approved, the approval signifies that the helmet has met certain standards for durability and protection, and will protect the rider if they have an accident. Some people choose to ride with helmets that they make themselves, and this can be extremely dangerous since these homemade helmets have not been tested for safety and reliability.
In fact, wearing a non-DOT approved helmet can be more dangerous than not wearing one at all, since a homemade helmet could shatter under an impact. For these reasons, it is very important that you wear a helmet that has been DOT approved.