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Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings: Vital When Choosing Headgear

When it comes to protecting yourself on the road, it’s obvious that wearing a helmet is the number one preventative measure you can take against injury. And most riders know that the helmet they buy should have some sort of safety standard, but many times they are unsure of what those standards are, or whether the manufacturer met that standard.

It can be difficult to know what kind of testing the manufacturer performed on your type of helmet. Never assume that all standards are the same.

The lawyers in our office performed research on the current motorcycle helmet standards to bring you up-to-date on the headgear you depend on to keep you safe. 

The four most common types of standards are known by the identifiers DOT, Snell, ECE, and BSI. Those names indicate the organization which regulates the standards:

  • DOT: U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Snell: The Snell Memorial Foundation
  • ECE: The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
  • BSI: The British Standards Institute

Each organization performs a different array of tests:

  • DOT. During the test, the helmet is dropped onto both flat and hemispherical anvils a total of eight times, twice on four different spots on the helmet. DOT also has guidelines for peripheral vision and the helmet’s ability to stay on the head.
  • Snell. Tests are the same as those for DOT, but Snell also performs an additional test where the helmet is dropped onto a steel edge (to simulate a guardrail) one time. Snell also tests the chin straps, chin bars, and flame resistibility, in addition to performing shell and face shield penetration tests.
  • ECE. During their testing, the helmet is dropped four times at four different spots onto a flat and curbed anvil. ECE also performs the same tests as Snell, along with a special sandpaper test to simulate the helmet sliding across the pavement. It is also important to note that the ECE certification is required in over 50 countries worldwide, and that the ECE standards meet or exceed those of DOT.
  • BSI. This time the helmet is dropped onto flat and hemispherical anvils twice at three different sites. The BSI also performs variations of the ECE testing.

For more safety tips, and a free copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims contact the lawyers at Hupy and Abraham by calling 800.800.5678 or by filling out our online form.