Government testing agency passes helmet testing milestone

Paul Taylor
By Paul Taylor
platinum_paul Production editor. Worked in bike industry for 15 years, gets fatter and slower every year. Unhealthy obsession with Honda C90s, top boxes and small bikes.
helmet testing

The government backed Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) yesterday reached a milestone of over 400 helmets tested after putting the HJC FG ST, Bell Star, MDS M13 and LS2 FF397 through their paces in its lab. The tests mean that the programme has now rated a total of 401 helmets since starting out in 2007.

The programme, which was awarded with an FIM road safety award, runs 32 tests on helmets to assess how well they could protect the wearer’s brain in the event of a crash, impacting them against anvils to represent various flat surfaces and kerbs. To ensure that the helmets tested are exactly the same as those on sale to the public, the agency purchases all models themselves from retail outlets – and tests a total of seven examples of each helmet across a full range of sizes.

Following the tests, each model is given a SHARP rating of between one and five stars to show how well the helmets perform over and above the minimum legal standard. Of the latest batch tested, the Arai, Bell and HJC all secured the maximum five star rating, with the MDS scoring four and the LS2 three. 

All models tested, including those which have been discontinued, are listed on SHARP’s website, providing an independent safety guide for all riders to consider when buying a new helmet and Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones believes that the tests are one likely reason why there has been a 38% drop on motorcyclist fatalities since the scheme was launched in 2007.

He said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are determined to do more to improve safety for all road users including motorcyclists.

“SHARP rates hundreds of helmets based on thousands of tests and provides riders with the best safety information available.

“The confidence riders put in the ratings shows how vitally important they are in helping reduce the number of tragedies we see on our roads.

“Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable of road users, accounting for around 1% of British traffic but 21% of deaths or serious injuries. All helmets must meet minimum legal safety standards but the SHARP scheme uses a wider range of tests to provide riders with more information on how much protection a helmet can provide in a crash.

“Helmets across a wide price range score highly so all riders should be able to find a high performing helmet in a size and style that fits them and at a price they want to pay.”

With 401 helmets tested, the programme has conducted more than 13,000 high impact tests on helmets, with the website getting more than 70,000 visitors each month from riders from all around the world.

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