Road Safety News
 

SHARP helmet rating system passes significant landmark

Wednesday 2nd November 2016

More than 400 types of motorcycle helmet have been examined under a UK government safety scheme which tests how much protection a helmet can provide in a crash.

 

The award-winning Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) has conducted more than 13,000 high impact tests to provide safety ratings to 401 helmets since its launch in 2007.

 

Based on the tests, SHARP awards ratings of between one and five stars to show how well helmets perform over and above the minimum legal requirements.

 

While motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable of road users - accounting for around 1% of British traffic but 21% of deaths or serious injuries - the DfT says the SHARP scheme is likely to have contributed to a 38% drop in motorcyclist fatalities since 2007.

 

Andrew Jones, road safety minister, said: “SHARP rates hundreds of helmets based on thousands of tests and provides riders with the best safety information available.

 

“The confidence riders put in the ratings shows how vitally important they are in helping reduce the number of tragedies we see on our roads.”

 

All helmets in the UK must meet minimum legal safety standards but the SHARP scheme uses a wider range of tests to provide riders with more information on how much protection a helmet can provide in a crash.

 

Helmets across a wide price range have scored highly and as such the government says all riders should be able to find a high performing helmet in a size and style that fits them - and at a price they want to pay.

 

David Ward, secretary general of Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP), said: “The DfT and its SHARP project team deserve great credit for this pioneering safety initiative that has promoted biker safety in the UK and also attracted attention around the world.

“It shows how consumer information can be a powerful force for improved safety on our roads.”
 

Want to know more about motorcycling and road safety?

Online library of research and reports etc - visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre

Key facts and summaries of research reports - visit the Road Safety Observatory

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Not all manufacturers agree with the SHARP test in the way they are conducted ie the tests that the helmets are put under and the measurements taken and so its incomplete. They argue that the tests are OK for certain types of helmets only in respect of the materials used ie polycarbonate. However, they argue that as they manufacture from different materials that have different properties and that their helmets meet their own rigorous testing and do not submit their helmets for SHARP testing in this way.

Further, at the point of sale not all helmet manufacturers will place stickers on their product to indicate that they say only received 2 or 3 out of 5 in the test. Not so much a 100% success I am afraid.
Bob Craven Lancs

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