The SHARP safety rating scheme for motorcycle helmets is important and useful to consumers, but there is need for more promotion and to improve levels of knowledge and awareness of the scheme.
These are among the findings of a study into the effectiveness of SHARP, carried out by TRL on behalf of the DfT.
The SHARP safety helmet assessment and rating scheme is designed to help consumers make a more informed decision when choosing a helmet.
40% of the 573 motorcycle helmet consumers who participated in the study were not aware of the scheme. However, among those who were aware of it, almost 90% said it was either a very or quite important factor in their purchasing decision.
Good SHARP ratings are generally considered important to manufacturers, retailers and distributors, but some consumers held the view that it is not necessary to consider the SHARP rating when all helmets legally on sale in the UK meet minimum safety standards.
There is a commonly held view among the helmet industry and consumers that it takes too long for a helmet to be awarded a SHARP rating.
The report’s conclusions include: more work to improve understanding of what SHARP does; more promotion of SHARP to increase consumer awareness of the scheme; and work with manufacturers to achieve faster testing.