Motorcyclists are known for being young at heart, no matter their actual age. A prime example is our love of stickers.
You can spot many motorcyclists with stickers in their garages, toolboxes, bikes, and even helmets. But is it safe to add decals or stickers to your helmet?
Scroll down as we’ll discuss how safe, or unsafe, putting stickers on your helmet can be.
Can You Put stickers on a Motorcycle Helmet?
It is generally safe to put stickers or vinyl cutouts on your helmet. Many riders do this as a way of customizing their lid. Other riders stick reflective tape on their helmet as a way of increasing visibility.
Are There Any Laws Around Stickers on Motorcycle Helmets?
I wasn’t able to find any laws specific to restricting stickers on helmets, but there are a few points riders should be aware of before they slap stickers on their helmet, including:
1. Be careful Where You Place the Stickers
Most helmets sold in the US come with a DOT sticker on the back of the helmet. Many others have a secondary sticker that says SNELL or ECE.
Riders must not cover, remove, or tamper with these stickers. These stickers come from the manufacturers and can’t be replaced.
Some states even require that your helmet has to have the DOT sticker visible if being worn. So be sure that you do not put another sticker over the safety rating sticker from the manufacturer.
2. Avoid Profanities or Obscenities
Stickers that have profanity words or depict obscene gestures may be funny, but they can spark awkward conversations between parents and toddlers passing by.
If offending others isn’t a concern for you, then consider how police officials might view you with vulgar stickers. These types of stickers, or decals, can attract unwanted attention from law enforcement.
Law enforcement agents are more likely to profile you as a hoodlum or delinquent if you’re sporting stickers with profanities or obscenities.
Do Stickers Weaken the Helmet’s Construction?
Stickers are generally harmless to your helmet. They are decorative and pose a low risk, if any, to the structural integrity of your helmet.
The adhesive of common stickers is not strong enough to break down the coating of the helmet. They are also too weak to keep any moving parts on your helmet from functioning properly.
However, note that you should avoid putting stickers over vents and visors.
Could There Be Any Potential Issues?
Again, stickers pose a low threat to your helmet’s safety and functionality.
However, keep in mind that stickers are decorative. You should not try to use them for anything more than that.
This means you should not use stickers as tape or to fix anything broken on your helmet, like a broken vent slide or visor. You should also avoid putting stickers on your helmet to avoid obstructing your vision.
The most damage stickers can cause is leaving their sticky residue behind if you try to remove them. Using harsh chemicals to remove the sticky residue can be harmful to the helmet, as it can break down the finish and materials in the item.
Likewise, using a razor or sharp object to remove stickers and decals can also be harmful to the helmet and yourself. Since stickers can be difficult to remove without harm, think before you stick.
Can You Put Reflective Stickers on It?
Many riders opt for this to increase their visibility. The best way to do this is by placing reflective stickers on the sides and back (above the safety stickers).
You can find reflective stickers in many motorcycle shops and websites that sell motorcycle accessories.
What About Decals and Vinyl?
Let’s face it, vinyls are just stickers for adults. Vinyl decals are as safe to put on your helmet as stickers. It’s easy to find vinyls with your favorite slogan or customize them for something more personal.
How Else Can You Personalize a Motorcycle Helmet?
Some riders choose to have their helmets custom-painted, but I don’t recommend this option unless you’re ready to retire the helmet and use it as wall art.
The fumes from the paint can break down the materials in the helmet and seep into the EPS liner. If the EPS liner of your helmet is compromised, it can no longer protect your head the way the manufacturer intended.
EPS, expanded polystyrene, is basically a high-tech styrofoam that absorbs energy and protects your head. If you have ever poured gasoline or other harsh chemicals into a styrofoam cup, you will have noticed that the chemicals ate away at the cup.
The EPS can react the same way to harsh fumes and chemicals from paints.
How Do You Get Stickers Off a Motorcycle Helmet?
As we said earlier, residue can pose a problem if you try to remove stickers.
I recommend trying to peel the sticker off with your finger first. If they’re stubborn or you’ve got the top part of the sticker off but all the adhesive stayed, grab some warm water and a rag. Place the rag over where the sticker was and let it stand for a few minutes.
Try to rub the adhesive off with the rag. You can even add a drop of dish soap if it’s really tough. Dry your helmet with a clean microfiber towel and your helmet should look good as new.
You should also avoid using harsh chemicals or razor blades to remove stickers, as these objects can be harmful to the helmet and you. The chemicals can break down the materials of the helmet and razors can slip on the curved surface of your helmet.
Adding stickers to your helmet is an easy, safe, and fun way to make your helmet as individual as the rider wearing it. However, make sure the stickers don’t compromise the effectiveness of the helmet or draw unnecessary attention from law enforcement or the public.