Helmets of all kinds can make the difference between an individual living and dying or suffering a life-impacting injury after a crash. Therefore, comprehensive helmet testing is a crucial part of the product development process for manufacturers engineering helmets for both bicyclists and motorcyclists.

The basics of helmet safety testing

In some countries helmet safety standards are controlled by government agencies. However, in the US compliance is left up to either the manufacturer or distributor of the helmet.

No helmet can protect the rider from every foreseeable accident and/or impact, however safety testing can ensure that certain standards are met and that the conditions in a lab replicate what a real crash may look like. Our helmet safety tests measure comprehensive helmet performance and ability to absorb impact. Tests can also measure the effectiveness of a helmet to stay on the wearer’s head and how certain accessories perform.

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards

In the U.S. any helmet listed as a “motorcycle helmet” must be DOT certified. If a helmet is not DOT certified it cannot be sold as a motorcycle helmet.

The most used standard for motorcycle helmets internationally is The Economic Community of Europe (ECE) No. 22. One of the advantages is the requirement for mandatory batch testing of helmets before they are released to the public. This means that the quality of the helmet in meeting the ECE No. 22 standard is assured by the compulsory sample testing of every production of helmets before they leave the factory. ECE has adopt a new No. 22.06 standard which Has new testing requirements, most noteworthy is a rotational oblique impacts.

At ACT-LAB we have the capabilities to test both DOT and ECE standards; if needed we can also certify ECE helmets. By the second quarter of 2022 ACT-LAB will have the necessary capabilities to test the new 22.06 standard.

Bicycle Helmet Safety Standards

Standards around the world vary when it comes to bicycle helmet certification standards. Currently, there are about 10 different bicycle helmet standards globally.

All bicycle helmets sold in the United States must meet the CPSC 1203 standard. CPSC 1203 is also accepted in Canada. CPSC subject’s helmets to slightly greater impacts than both EN 1078 and AS/NZ 2063 standards.

At ACT-LAB we perform a variety of bicycle helmet tests that meet requirements both within and outside the US:

In the US:
• CPSC 1203
• ASTM F1447 for Bicycling or Roller Skating
• ASTM F1952 for Downhill Mountain Bicycle Racing
• ASTM F2032 for BMX Cycling

Outside of the US
• EN 1078 in Europe
• AS/NZ 2063 in Australia and New Zealand
• GB 24429 in China

In the US all brands MUST meet the CSPC 1203 standard. Eight helmets of a given model must be submitted into a “reasonable testing program” and testing must be conducted either by the manufacturer or a third-party, such as ACT-LAB. Records of the test results must be kept on file with the importer for at least three years and made available to the Consumer Products Safety Commission within 48 hours of a request for verification. Violations of the standard can result in “recall, injunctions, seizure of the product, and civil or criminal penalties.”

There may be additional fees for certification processes and requirements outside of the US.

Other Helmet Safety Tests

Helmet safety is by no means limited to bicycle and motorcycle riders. For example, head injuries are responsible for 60% of equine-riding related deaths, many of which can be prevented with an equestrian certified helmet.

We perform a variety of helmet safety tests so that manufacturers can feel confident in their product and keep their consumers safe including:

• Snow sport helmets
• Skateboard and roller skate helmets
• Equestrian helmets
• Canoeing and whitewater helmets
• Speed skating
• Industrial safety helmets
• Impact protection helmets for young children
• Off-road motorcycle helmets

About ACT-LAB

ACT-LAB is an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory that conducts consumer product safety and compliance testing for an active world. We can help ensure that your products both meet industry standards and are inspected to ensure the utmost quality.

To learn more about our tests contact us today.

Read more about our accreditations here.