Motorcycles are becoming a more popular mode of travel in the US. In 2020 alone, sales were up 67% from the previous year, with American consumers buying 780,000 motorcycles. While motorcycles offer compact, efficient, and a cheaper way to get from point A to point B, riding a motorcycle also carries inherent safety risks that aren’t associated with riding an automobile.

However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “if you’re ever in a serious motorcycle crash, the best hope you have for protecting your brain is a motorcycle helmet.”

If you go to purchase any motorcycle helmet you are likely to see a variety of stickers indicating the safety rating of the product. In this article we will detail the different types of certifications and safety ratings a motorcycle can have, as well as what tests you are required to have as a manufacturer of motorcycle helmets.

What kind of certifications are there for motorcycle helmets?

DOT: All helmets sold in the US must meet DOT certification. This standard has been set by the Department of Transportation. The current DOT rating is under standard FMVSS 218. For more information on the testing required for this certification, see below.

ECE: This is the standard required for manufacturers selling helmets in Europe. All helmets must meet the standards outlined by ECE 22.05.

SNELL: A voluntary certification, SNELL testing and certification was created by the Snell Memorial Foundation to promote helmet safety. Some racing organizations require the SNELL certification for helmets.

FIM: A newer standard for motorcycle helmets set by the FÉDÉRATION INTERNATIONALE DE MOTOCYCLISM, FIM is an organization that sanctions professional motorcycle racing around the world.


What testing am I required to do as a manufacturer?

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.

At our labs we can perform the following tests:

  • DOT FMVSS 218 – Motorcycle Helmets
  • ECE 22.05 – Protective Helmets and Their Visors for Drivers and Passengers of Motor Cycles and Mopeds
  • ASTM F3103 – Off-Road Motorcycle and ATV Helmets
  • SFI 31.1 – Flame Resistant Motorsports Helmets
  • SFI 41.1 – Motorsports Helmets



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.


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