Project: Motorcyclists Helmets and Visors: Test Methods and New Technologies

Reference: S0232/VF

Last update: 07/01/2009 09:32:46


To improve helmet and visor test methods, evaluate new helmet concepts and devise a possible consumer information scheme, so as to facilitate worthwhile improvements in helmet and visor design to reduce fatal head injuries and mitigate environmental factors. In particular, there is a need to undertake the following (subject to the prevailing views emerging from the first item):

* a workshop to facilitate a frank and open exchange of views on how best to deliver better helmets capable of saving around 100 lives a year;
* to explore the potential for the activities set out below and identified in the workshop, to be taken forward within the EC Framework Programme;
* produce a partial Regulatory Impact Assessment on the options for introducing the COST 327 specification in Regulations;
* develop and verify test methods and performance criteria to measure and assess helmet performance as set out in the COST 327 report;
* evaluate any alternative helmet and visor concepts that offer better protection, ergonomic performance or more efficient protection;
* research and develop a consumer information programme to rate and compare the performance of helmets and visors for head protection and ergonomic factors;
* disseminate the research at meetings of standard making bodies and at national and international conferences; and
* produce a revised partial Regulatory Impact Assessment also covering the options for introducing each package of tests in Regulations.


Between 1980 and 1995, the annual numbers of motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries fell from 1,018 to 416 and 19,341 to 5,672 respectively (during the same period, the numbers of motorcyclists fell from 1.372 to 0.594 million). These figures have since risen to 573 deaths and 6,312 serious injuries in the year 2000, by which time the number of motorcyclists had risen to 0.825 million. Fatal and serious injuries to motorcyclists have therefore become an increasingly significant contributor to road accident casualties.

Based on a study of injuries sustained by motorcyclists in the Strathclyde region, it has been estimated that, if test methods could be strengthened, improvements in helmet design could save up to 100 lives a year in Great Britain. This is one of the key delivery elements on safer motorcycles in the Governments' Road Safety Strategy. New types of helmets are currently being developed but, to secure delivery, better test methods will be needed to realise the potential benefits and facilitate customer awareness.


TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £292,088.00

Actual start date: 29 September 2003

Actual completion date: 30 September 2006


Motorcyclists' helmets and visors - test methods and new technologies: Final Report (PPR 186)
Author: A N Mellor, V J M StClair and B P Chinn
Publication date: 02/03/2007
ISBN: 1-84608-853-4
More information:

PR/SE/930/04. Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment for Improved Motorcycle Helmets and Visors
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 23/03/2004
Source: Contact: