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'Best' motorcycle helmet for safety hard to gauge

Back in the 1970s, TV gave us "The Six Million Dollar Man." The premise was that the U.S. government reconstructed a crash-damaged astronaut and turned him into a bionic man. Why? Because, as one of the characters observed, "We have the technology."

That's the thing about science fiction. Even if a technology doesn't really exist, we can pretend it does. And then there's the reality that without science fiction, many of the things we have today might not be fact.

As the show's title suggests, the whole bionic man package was apparently put together for the relatively paltry sum of $6 million. It would be nice if the only thing it took to get over major technological challenges was a few million dollars. Unfortunately, it often takes a lot more.

Motorcycle helmets might be one product in that category. As we pointed out in a post not long ago, wearing all the right motorcycling safety gear is a good idea, even though it may cost a lot. And the helmet, arguably the most important of the pieces, may also be the most expensive of them.

Very often, the price of the product is seen as an indication of its capabilities. Applying that view to motorcycle helmets you might conclude that the more expensive the helmet, the safer the motorcyclist is going to be. But experts don't agree on that point.

That's because there is no single helmet capable of dealing with the wide variety of motorcycle accidents that a rider might encounter.

There are some new designs coming on the market that some say could represent a clear improvement. Not surprisingly, they are more expensive than many that already carrying the Department of Transportation or Snell seals of approval. But experts admit that there's still no single helmet that protects every rider in every situation.

Still, they do disagree that wearing some approved helmet is a wise idea.

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