Rating Helmets Beyond Pass/Fail
If you wear a full-face helmet, chances are you chose this type of helmet for its protective qualities. But what about the difference in levels of protection between different makes and models of full-face helmet? In the U.S. there isn’t much information to go on. Helmet safety certification uses a pass/fail system: a helmet either earns a DOT-approved (or, in some cases, Snell-approved) rating or it doesn’t. In the United Kingdom that’s changed with the government’s “Safety Helmet Assessment and Ratings Programme,” better known as SHARP.
The key word there is “Rating,” as in the 1- thru 5-star rating that SHARP assigns to helmets. According to the program, the more stars, the better protection a helmet can give. SHARP is “unique in providing a scaling to helmet performance,” says Anna McCreadie, of the U.K.’s Department for Transport, the government agency that conducts the SHARP testing. The U.K. government created SHARP in the hope that it would arm motorcyclists with more knowledge about the helmets they choose. As McCreadie explains: “SHARP is a comparative test designed to give motorcyclists more detailed information about the likely performance of different helmets in a collision. All the helmets available for sale in the U.K. must meet certain minimum standards—SHARP gives consumers information about how well helmets perform beyond those minimum standards.” SHARP tests have found differences in performance of as much as 70 percent between high- and low-scoring helmets.
Read the full article at Motorcycle Daily