Helmet Safey Standards

Saxeus

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In trying to find out more about local (South Africa) safety standards for motorcycle helmets, I found this on a forum from 2009. Not sure how accurate it will be these days.

Buying a helmet is not as easy as it may sound—there are so many choices, makes, models, prices and factors all part of the decision process whether you’re new or experienced. Clearly it’s not the colour or edgy design that’ll determine your choice—the number one goal to achieve in a helmet is safety.
According to one not too long ago survey (2003) done in America by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders faced a 32% greater likelihood of dying in a crash compared to those driving in a car. The simple practice of wearing a helmet dramatically reduced the number of road fatalities for cycle riders. The NHTSA estimates that between 1984 and 2004, nearly 11,000 motorcyclists would be alive today if they were wearing a helmet while riding.
How do you know if your helmet is safe? It receives a rating approval --Snell and DOT (Department of Transportation) are the rankings for North America, In Europe its ECE 22-04 or ECE 22-05; Great Britain: BS-6658 Grade A; Japan: JIS-T-8133-2000 all of these designed to let you know the safety "effectiveness" of a helmet.

SNELL FOUNDATION
The foundation is named after William “Pete” Snell, a popular amateur auto racer who perished from massive head injuries resulting from a sports car roll-over accident in 1956. His helmet failed to protect him.
As a memorial to Pete, a group of scientists, physicians, racing colleagues and friends teamed together in a dedicated effort to promote research, education, testing and development of standards geared to improve the effectiveness of automotive racing helmets.
The foundation was established in 1957 land the first standard was introduced in 1959 for crash helmets in general, with the first motorcycle specific standard being introduced in 1985. The Test facility is located in Sacramento CA. have a look at the testing standards performed!

DOT RATING
The DOT (Department of Transport) performs a straight forward impact test. Using a simulated head placed inside a helmet, testers drop the helmet from a height of ten feet. The head cannot receive more than 400 G-force units on impact. A G-force unit measures the force of gravity exerted against an object in motion.
Manufacturers don't need to test their helmets in order to claim a DOT rating! A helmet manufacturer simply needs to feel that a helmet meets the DOT specifications to brand it as "DOT rated." The DOT might occasionally pull helmets to perform testing--majority of helmets sold as DOT certified do not undergo any level of testing.

BSI
BSI British Standards is the UK's national standards organization that produces standards and information products that promote and share best practice. It serves the interests of a wide range of industry sectors as well as governments, consumers, employees and society overall, to make sure that British, European and international standards are useful, relevant and authoritative.

OTHER TEST NOTES
* All companies have their own test facilities, because Snell testing is expensive.
* Snell only tests down to an area above the mid ear level.
* Snell tests random helmets purchased in the market place.
* Snell currently has 15 standards from bicycles, to skiing, horseback riding, scooters, etc. The important ones are M2005 – Motorcycle – current
M2010 – Motorcycle (written but not in force yet); CMR/CMS 2007 – Children’s Motorsports; L-98 – Mopeds & low powered vehicles; SA/K - Auto & Kart
* DOT standards are self-administered – virtually no testing is done by the US Department of Transport.
* ECE 22.05 standard is tightly regulated & therefore reliable. It’s test criteria is quite a bit different than Snell or DOT, but the approved helmets test very close to what a DOT approved helmet would test at. As with DOT, it is a “lighter hit” standard than Snell.
* BSI 6658 Type A from Great Britain & JIS from Japan are other standards too. BSI is similar to Snell in stiffness.
* DOT standard does not test the chin bar of helmets with them while the Snell (and ECE) standards do

REAL WORLD FACTS ABOUT HELMET USE & PERFORMANCE

* The most common hit zone is the forehead area along with the chin bar.
* The most common object to hit is flat pavement.
* Just like poorly inflated tires, too lose a fit is very common and a “big problem”.
* Full face offers the highest level of protection with open face being second.
* Especially in Moto-X, a failed chin bar is a common helmet failure point, but this is misleading. If the chin bar doesn’t yield when needed, the impact can create a basal skull fracture. The trick is that a chin bar failure must be engineered to yield outwards away from the face are purposely made to yield before causing a basal skull fracture, & to yield outwards, but not all helmets are engineered so accurately (ARAI passes this test!)

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING YOUR HELMET

* Fit is very important. One size too big can reduce protection level by 30%.
* Loose fit also increases noise level.
* The street environment is far more dangerous than racing—get a good helmet!
* How snug? Can you chew your gum? It should be very difficult!
* Look for any tight spots that cause discomfort.
* Fit your head, not your face.
* A helmet's life is good for 3-5 years depending on usage
* Do not buy a helmet used/second hand as it will have already pre-shaped to the previous owners head--of no use to you in a mishap.


Incidently, our local SABS (South African Bureau of Standards) seems to have dropped their testing of helmets and not bothered to replace it with anything. It apparently used to be closely based on the ECE standard. Oddly enough our Road Traffic Ordinance still stipulates that only an SABS approved helmet is legal in SA... Given the recent "disorganised" condition of many of our state departments, I can't say I'm surprised.
 

kjang

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given by your post, I didn't know that DOT is self regulating.
That is really bothersome to me.
That said, I own an ARAI XD-4 in HI-VIS.
Not crazy about the color, but if gets me visible to the cage drivers then so be it.
ARAI helmets in general are very expensive. I only wanted to have one helmet, so I bought the style I liked.

Ken
 

Saxeus

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given by your post, I didn't know that DOT is self regulating.
That is really bothersome to me.
That said, I own an ARAI XD-4 in HI-VIS.
Not crazy about the color, but if gets me visible to the cage drivers then so be it.
ARAI helmets in general are very expensive. I only wanted to have one helmet, so I bought the style I liked.

Ken

Arai helmets mostly seem to be Snell certified so you I think you can rest assured. The XD-4 would be my first choice if I can find it here for a reasonable price, which I doubt. I know the peak is removable but I haven't seen anyone mention whether it then fits in the frunk like that or not. Most dual sports seem to be fairly long in the jaw so I assume not.

A while ago I was looking at the G-Max G54s but I believe it is only DOT rated so would technically not be legal on our roads here. WebBikeWorld also has a somewhat disturbing article about one of the HJC flip-ups that seemed to have a very weak latch mechanism that secures the jaw piece. Obviously not all flip-ups are going to suffer the same design flaws, and even HJC have since revised the design. And then there's the issue of Snell's trend of not certifying many (or any) flip-ups yet, although this could be simply due to not having units to test rather than flip-ups failing to meet the standards.

Sometimes I wish choosing a helmet was a bit easier...
 

Old Can Ride

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If you plan to race, you will have to buy the Snell certified helmet as it the only thing approved by AMA because it has high speed impact abilities, but it also gives some unreal concussions due to the high speed impact properties.

However, for general street riding it has been proven any times over in many tests that due to the egg type cracking effect of the DOT helmet that concussions are a lot less server.

What is important is that you wear a helmet!
 
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dduelin

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One need not worry about DOT helmets if you stick with a reputable dealer and name brands. The DOT does buy a number of helmets off the shelf for testing every year and companies (manufacturers) selling helmets not meeting the DOT standards are subject to jail and monetary penalties and the law is enforced. For name brand manufacturers there is very little to gain and a lot to lose by knowingly selling illegal helmets.
 

MZ5

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However, for general street riding it has been proven any times over in many tests that due to the egg type cracking effect of the DOT helmet that concussions are a lot less server.

Will you please post some forensic evidence of this? I've read the magazine article which asserts this, so don't bother with that.
 
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