Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards: A Summary and Recommendations

Safety on the road isn’t just about how you ride; it’s also about the gear you wear. When it comes to motorcycling, your helmet is undeniably the most crucial piece of safety equipment. But with a plethora of helmet safety standards, certifications, and labels out there, how do you discern which is the best and safest for you?

Dive into this active guide as we break down the major motorcycle helmet standards, highlighting their processes, acceptance, and controversies. Whether you’re a daily commuter, a weekend rider, or a globetrotting motorcyclist, understanding these standards can be a lifesaver, quite literally. Let’s gear up and get started!

DOT (Department of Transportation)

  • Introduced: 1973.
  • Standard: FMVSS No. 218.
  • Procedure: Allows manufacturers to self-certify.
  • Enforcement: By the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
  • Criticism: Regarded as substandard compared to other standards due to self-certification and outdated criteria.

ECE (Economic Commission for Europe)

  • Versions: ECE 22.05 (2000) and ECE 22.06 (2020).
  • Procedure: New helmets must adhere to 22.06 criteria post-June 2022.
  • Acceptance: Widest globally, especially in European Union countries.
  • Standout: 22.06 is one of the safest homologations on the planet.


  • Introduced: 1957.
  • Version: Motorcycle-specific M2020.
  • Procedure: Updates every 5 years.
  • Controversy: Overbuilt and hard helmets which are not ideal for motorcycling.
  • Versions: M2020D (traditional) and M2020R (compatible with ECE 22.06).
  • Acceptance: Predominantly US and Japan; also recognized in certain race tracks.

FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme)

  • Introduction: Considered from 2016.
  • Versions: FRHPhe-01 and FRHPhe-02 standards.
  • Testing: Comprehensive, including impact, penetration, and rotational.
  • Target Audience: Primarily racers and high-level motorcycling events.
  • Standout: One of the topmost standards currently.

SHARP (Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme)

  • Independent testing body.
  • Procedure: Tests based on requests and market trends.
  • Rating: Star rating out of five.
  • Standout: Transparent, consumer-focused, and with constant updates.


  • ECE 22.06 and FIM FRHPhe-01/FRHPhe-02 are currently the safest and most recommended standards. Motorcyclists should prioritize helmets with these certifications.
  • SHARP is continually evolving and is a reliable marker of helmet safety.
  • DOT needs an update in its testing methods and criteria to ensure optimum safety.
  • The relevance of the Snell standard is debatable given its inherent controversies and the industry’s progression.

Motorcyclists should always prioritize safety and opt for helmets that not only meet but exceed current safety standards. As the industry evolves and more research comes to light, it is essential to stay updated and make informed choices. Always remember, when it comes to helmets, safety first!



In the world of motorcycling, the helmet is more than just an accessory; it’s a lifeline. As we’ve journeyed through the various safety standards, it’s evident that not all helmets are created equal. It’s imperative for riders to not only wear a helmet but to choose one that adheres to the highest safety standards.

By staying informed and understanding the nuances of each certification, riders can make choices that prioritize their safety on the road. After all, when it comes to protecting the head, there’s no room for compromise. Ride safe, stay informed, and always ensure your helmet meets or exceeds the industry’s best practices. Remember, every ride is a statement, and the right helmet can speak volumes about your commitment to safety. Safe travels on all your future journeys!

Sharp 2025 Motorcycle Info – Snell Hurt Report Billy Crash Helmets – ECE 22.06Ultimate Motorcycling – Helmet Standards Explained Bennetts – FIM Helmet Standard Eurosport – FIM Phase One Rollout

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