In the UK motorcycle helmet safety is taken very seriously and there are organisations such as SHARP who put helmets through stringent tests to make sure that they will protect you if you have an accident.
Motorcycle Helmet Safety Organisations:
SHARP – Safety Helmet Assessment & Rating Program
SHARP is the organisation that runs crash tests on full face and flip up motorcycle helmet models to check the motorcycle helmet safety. All of the ratings are available on their website along with a detailed database showing how each helmet performed. Open face helmets are not tested as they offer no face protection.
ECE 22.05 and BS 6658:1985
Any motorcycle helmet sold in the UK must:
- Meet the British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark (shown on the left);
- or Comply with UNECE Regulation 22.05 (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe).
There is a common belief that helmets must have the kitemark to be road legal in the UK, this is untrue. If your helmet only has the ECE regulation label then it is still road legal. Many countries worldwide use the ECE standard and the majority of helmet models meet the regulation.
How to Check That a Motorcycle Helmet Passes Safety Regulations:
These checks are easy to do:
- If the helmet is listed on the SHARP website then you can be sure it has been tested for use on UK roads and has passed regulations.
- Most helmets also have an ECE marking label to show that it meets Regulation No.22 (aka ECE 22.05). Look for these markings inside the helmet either molded into the visor or as a sticker (normally on the top right hand corner):
Depending on the EU country the helmet was tested in the marking will start with ‘E’ and then end with a number. It doesn’t matter which number it ends with, here is a list of EU countries and their ECE numbers –
- E1: Germany
- E2: France
- E3: Italy
- E4: Netherlands
- E5: Sweden
- E6: Belgium
- E7: Hungary
- E8: Czech Republic
- E9: Spain
- E10: Yugoslavia
- E11: British (United Kingdom)
- E12: Austria
- E13: Luxembourg
- E14: Switzerland
- E16: Norway
- E17: Finland
- E18: Denmark
- E19: Romania
- E20: Poland
- E21: Portugal
- E22: Russian
- E23: Greece
- E25: Croatia
- E26: Slovenia
- E27: Slovakia
- E28: Belarus
- E29: Estonia
- E31: Bosnia Herzegovina
- E37: Turkey
Helmets with a 5 Star SHARP Rating:
At the time of writing there are 53 SHARP 5 star helmets. It’s important to use the SHARP rating as a guide when buying, just because a helmet has a 5 star safety rating doesn’t mean that it is comfortable to wear and up to everyday use.
Caberg are a well known brand and available to buy from most motorcycle clothing or accessory dealers. For it’s price (around £120) it’s a full featured flip up helmet that also benefits from an internal visor.
This is an excellent track day or touring helmet and is popular with Sportsbike riders. It’s an older model now and can be picked up for around £300.
Designed for touring, the Shark Race R is suited to long rides and is compatible with the Sharktooth bluetooth helmet system. This helmet is one of Shark’s top of the range models and benefits from a 5 out of 5 SHARP rating.
Overall the SHARP rating is another point to take into consideration when choosing your next motorcycle helmet.