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What is an approved helmet? What are the existing standards and approvals for motorcycle helmets? What does the European standard ECE 22-05 mean on the label? What tests are performed for SHARP, DOT, SNELL or JIS? The approval P, or J or the double approval P / J?
The approved motorcycle helmet we all know, is mandatory by law. What is an approved helmet? What are the standards and approvals that exist? What standards are accepted in Europe and France? We explain everything afterwards.
What is an approved helmet?
In many European countries, regardless of the type of motorcycle helmet, whether for the full-face helmet, jet or modular helmet, it must meet concrete tests, corresponding to established European minimum safety standards.
To find out if your helmet is legal, there is a label on the helmet where the letter E followed by a number must be verified. The letter E (from Europe) refers to the European homologation standards, while the number indicates the country where the tests took place. The numbers range from 01 to 18.
And the other numbers?
- The first two numbers refer to the version of the standard that the helmet in question responds to. That is, ECE 22-05 means there have been 5 revisions of the standard.
- The following 4 numbers refer to the homologation number of the headset. This number is unique that is to say that each model therefore counts his. For example, the same number will be found on two identical AGV Pista GP-R if they are homologated by the same standard.
The P, NP, J and PJ approvals, what does that mean?
On the label are letters referring to P, NP, J and PJ approvals:
- P homologation for helmets that cover and protect the chin strap, chin. Mostly they refer to full motorcycle helmets.
- NP approval when the chin guard is covered but does not protect.
- Jet J homologation. Which means that the chin strap is uncovered.
- Homologation PJ also known as “double homologation”, these are the two letters that refer to modular helmets. They allow us to move with the chin guard open and closed.
Finally, the 4 remaining numbers is like the passport number of the helmet. It tells us the number and test results that the helmet was submitted. It’s like the helmet’s production number.
ECE 22-05 homologation on motorcycle helmet
If the helmet has the label with the letter E, it means that it has ECE 22-05, the most extensive homologation. In fact, more than 50 countries have adopted it and it is the most used for the most important competitions of the world.
Interesting all that … but do you know what tests are being done to obtain the homologation?
- Resistance to temperature. The helmet is subjected to a temperature of 25 degrees centigrade and a relative humidity of at least 65% for 4 hours.
- The heat. The helmet is subjected to a temperature of 50 degrees for at least 4 hours with a maximum of 6 hours.
- Low temperature resistance. For this, the helmet is subjected to -20 degrees for a minimum of 4 hours up to a maximum of 6 hours.
- Resistance to ultraviolet radiation. For this, the helmet is exposed to a 125-watt xenon bulb at a distance of 25 cm.
- The helmet is subjected to a jet of water at an ambient temperature with a pressure of 1 liter / min, and like the other tests. During minimum 4 hours up to a maximum of 6 hours.
- Resistance to impacts and its absorption capacity. For this, there is a notation marking the impact through stimulation of a manikin.
- Resistance to penetration. To not drag on this subject, you just have to know that there are two points of penetration on the helmet and will be tested via a punch.
- The rigidity of a helmet. To summarize this point, we can say that the helmet is placed between two parallel facades under a certain pressure.
- The retention of the helmet. The closure. For this, we put the helmet on the head of the manikin, on the belly suspended in the air and we boom. We let him down.
How many helmets are intended for this type of test?
Be aware that each manufacturer allocates part of its weekly production for impact testing. If a manufacturer produces a series of 800 weekly helmets of a model, 1% should be intended for this type of testing. If it is a production of 801 to 1200 helmets, 8 helmets. From 1201 to 3200 helmets, 13 helmets. From 3201 to 10000 helmets, 20 helmets and more than 10000 helmets, 32 helmets.
DOT and Snell homologation. The American standard valid in Europe?
In the United States, it is the DOT standard that is used “Department Of Transportation” which certifies the motorcycle helmet. Be aware that DOT certification is the only one that AMA (American Motorcycle Association) recognizes.
This certification includes tests for: impact resistance, effectiveness of the retention system during impact, penetration resistance and different types of configuration of helmet elements. For example, a study of peripheral vision or rigid elements inside helmet.
Snell Standard (M2020)
The Snell standard (M2020 is the most recent) is perhaps the most restrictive standard and compatible with the ECE 22.05 certification. A standard that is not mandatory for brands even if some manufacturers request this certification.
What is Snell Certification? It includes 4 protection criteria: impact resistance, stability of the helmet on the head at the moment of impact, efficiency of the retention system during the impact and optimization of the protected areas of the skull.
Are Dot and Snell approvals valid in Europe?
The answer is no. These standards are not valid in Europe. If a police officer stops you and checks the certification, it will be a fine and a loss of 3 points.
Generally, helmets that have passed this type of US homologation will technically also pass the European homologation test and vice versa, because the tests follow a common “pattern”. However, this does not mean that it is guaranteed and authorized by law.
Helmets can meet both standards at the same time, both DOT and ECE 22.05. This information is usually seen on the back.
SHARP in the United Kingdom
To all this, we must add other certifications. For example, the SHARP test, which stands for “Safety Helmets and Assessment Rating Program”, is an independent body of the United Kingdom Department of Transport whose objective is to measure helmet safety levels.
This type of test is done to check the safety of a helmet, independently of the approval systems, since other additional factors, such as the field of vision or the weather resistance, must be taken into account. (Very important in the UK).
The SHARP tests have 32 different types of impacts that are made on the headsets coming from the shop and not samples chosen by the manufacturer. The result of this test follows a star notation. 5 stars for helmets that best perform these tests.
JIS standard in Japan
We go to Japan. The land of the rising sun … but not only it is also the country that counts the two largest manufacturers of motorcycle helmets in the world: Arai and Shoei.
Il existe alors une autre norme différente. L’homologation des casques japonais se trouve (on pourrait dire) à mi-chemin entre l’Europe et les États-Unis concernant le numéro de tests de processus, étant la norme européenne qui réalise le moins de test et l’américaine le plus. Cette donnée ne veut pas dire qu’une homologation est moins ou plus efficace qu’une autre.
Conclusion of this regulation
It should not be forgotten that the FIM, the International Motorcycle Federation has announced that the helmets of the World MotoGP will have to obtain a new homologation.
Finally, after all approvals, tests and resistance exams such as Sharp or others, you should know that each brand carries a number of exhaustive tests on different subjects on all their helmets.
These are tests stipulating the quality control and the approval of each brand even before a helmet comes into being. All this work for one goal: that every helmet arriving on the skull of a biker meets manufacturing standards offer total guarantees against any impact. In one word: SAFETY.
We hope to have brought you some light on the subject of the homologations of the motorcycle helmet. As always, do not hesitate to share with us your opinions or comments.