Helmet safety standards will soon harden up

by Brooke Stirling - 28/04/2020

The Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) have announced big changes are coming to helmet safety regulations in the next few years, expected to better protect motorcyclists when we’re out on the bike.

The new regulations will be referred to as ECE 22.06, replacing the 22.05 which was introduced 20 years ago, and will require many helmet manufacturers to make major changes to their lids.

What changes are coming?

The changes can be summed up into two areas.

  1. Impact tests and how they take place
  2. Helmet technology Impact tests, where headforms are placed inside a helmet and dropped at set speeds, will be expanded to include a wider range of speed tests targeting more points on the helmet.

This will include both higher speeds and lower speeds; higher speeds to better protect motorcyclists during a crash and lower speeds to ensure the helmet can still absorb lower energy impact to a high standard (if a helmet is too stiff, it is thought this may cause more damage during lower-impact incidents).

The various angles being tested will also work to protect bikers in more types of accidents which will also consider the impact of accidents on the brain (for the first time).

So basically, the changes are expected to reduce the physical damage caused to motorcyclists after an accident and will assist in both high-impact and low-impact situations.

ECE 22.06 will also address the accessories being fitted to helmets since 2000.

Tests on flip-up lids will take place with the chin bars in different positions, accessories such sun visors deployed, and any intercom system available for the helmet will also be looked at.

Velocity impact tests on visors will be tested at greater speeds, and road-legal dark visors will get darker (the 50% minimum transmission rating will change to 35%).

When will these changes come into force?

The ECE 22.06 documents just need to move through the UN voting process, so assuming there are no schedule changes, we might be seeing the new requirements made official in June 2020.

But retailers don’t have to move quite so fast. They will be able to sell the existing standard of helmet up until a maximum of three years from when the 22.06 is put into force.

Most retailers will probably want to update their stock as soon as possible, however, customers may not like what they see initially with prices expected to jump by about 5%.

Facts sourced from Motorcycle News.