Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards

Motorcycle helmet safety standards

There are various Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards that are available on the market. The multiple standards which are all different may challenge a new rider who isn’t still aware of the rules and regulations of the motorcycling world. Some of the most renowned helmet-safety standards which are used by motorcycle riders in various countries include:

• Australia: AS 1698:2006
• Europe: ECE 22.05.
• Japan: JIS or SG
• Canada: CSA CAN3-D239-M85
• Taiwan: CNS
• Singapore: PSB
• New Zealand: NZ-5430
• Brazil: NBR-7471
• India: IS-4151

Most countries have implemented laws which require motorcycle riders to wear helmets. However, these laws vary from country to country. Each country has its own set of rules which define the standards. The rules are normally used to determine the effectiveness of a helmet in case the motorcycle rider ends up crashing.

However, there are also helmet safety standards which are considered as Independent because they are set by private organizations or independent bodies. They include the British Standards Institution, UK’s ACU Gold and SHARP, in addition to USA’s SNELL.

Types of Motorcycle Helmet-Safety Standards

The different types of motorcycle helmet-safety standards include:

1. DOT Standards

These are helmet safety standards that are outlined by the US Department of Transportation. The US has an official law which indicates that all helmets that are sold in this country for motorcycle riders need to have the DOT certification. If the helmets can’t meet the minimal DOT requirements, then they are not eligible for sale as motorcycle helmets. The Federal Motor-Vehicle Safety Standard i.e. FMVSS is responsible for providing the DOT Certification required for all helmets which are to be used by motorcyclists and are sold in the US.

2. The ECE 22.05 Helmet-Safety Standard

ECE stands for the Economic Community of Europe standard. Its normally used as a motorcycle standard not only in European countries but also internationally. ECE 22.05. is normally required in more than 50 countries globally. United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe ECE 22.05. requires that all helmets have to undergo the mandatory batch test before they are released in the market.

3. SNELL Helmet-Safety Standards

This is a helmet standard by the Snell Memorial Foundation which tests various manufacture’s helmets. This standard follows very strict requirements as well as testing procedures for helmets that are used for racing activities such as motocross, karting, and drag racing. Note that purchasing a helmet which has the SNELL certification is usually voluntary. Additionally, these standards can’t be used to replace DOT standards. 
One thing that about SNELL Certification is that motorcycle riders based in North America normally consider it more beneficial compared to DOT. Well, this is because SNELL has standards which allow more transfer of gravitational forces to the wearer’s head. Both ECE 22.05 and SNELL standards test the chin bars of all full-face helmets.

4. ACU Gold Standard

This is the Auto Cycle Union standard for the United Kingdom. ACU has stricter measures for racing compared to the minimum legal requirements of ECE 22.05. Note that only helmets which have the ACU Gold label are normally allowed during track days or in competitions. However, most motorcycle rides in the UK still use helmets which have the ACU Gold labels even on regular road days. 

What Does the Safety Standards Test?

Generally, these safety standards tests of helmets which are found in the market to check if they have to meet specific requirements by being subjected to various lab tests. When the lab tests are done some of the things that are tested include impact absorption. Besides that, there are tests which are done to determine the effectiveness of the retention systems which allow the helmet to solidly stay on the wearer’s head. Furthermore, the lab tests are also carried on accessories like the visor.

What’s the Difference Between these Safety Standards?

Although these safety standards may be used to test the same things, the requirements and methods of testing dramatically vary. For instance, there are countries where the manufacturer is responsible for overseeing the compliance while in others it is done by government agencies. In addition to that, some standards are very simple while some are very complex. However, if you are a motorcycle rider, you should know that the lab tests which are conducted on helmets don’t replicate the exact real-life impact after an accident or crash. There is no helmet that can offer 100 percent protection for all crashes or protect the ride from random impacts.

Which Helmet-Safety Standard is Approved for Competition Racing?

The ECE 22.05. standard has been approved for motorcycle racing events by the:

• WERA Motorcycle Road racing (WERA)
• American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)
• Formula-USA
• Fdration Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM)

Note that the ECE 22.05 safety standard has been approved by nearly all professional motorcycle racing events in the world championship motocross, road racing, off-road events, and the Moto GP. Riders need to be aware that helmets which have both the ECE 22.05 and DOT certifications have the highest level of realistic user protection.

What Type of Helmet Safety Standard Do MotoGP Professional Racers Wear?

According to the information that’s provided by the MotoGP’s commission for World Championship (which includes MSMA, FIM, Dorna, and IRTA) as per the 2009 regulations, the helmets need to have the full-face design and fully conform with one of the following standards: 

• Europe’s ECE 22.05
• USA’s SNELL M2000 and 
• Japan’s JIS T8133:2000

More information on this can be found on page 65 of the Sporting Regulation under section 2.12.7

Which Type of Motorcycle Helmet-Safety Standard is Considered Superior?

Comparing all the standards, it’s difficult to pick one which is outrightly superior. The safety standard is normally set and regulated by different governing bodies to ensure motorcycle riders are protected. A helmet can have any of the above-mentioned standards and still offer the rider protection from impact regardless of its price. Whether it costs $100 or $700, you are still guaranteed protection in case of a crash.
The motorcycle industry is rapidly growing. Furthermore, there are numerous trade agreements between countries and the emergence of online markets. To ensure that there is harmonization, maybe it’s time for a global assessment to be made so that these standards can be harmonized. 

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