Development of a Motorcycle Helmet Evaluation Program
Currently, helmet testing is reported as meeting or failing to meet the required standard. The Helmet Evaluation Program (HEP) was developed, as a parallel to ANCAP, to promote safety and drive market demand through informed consumer action. This paper describes development of HEP and the specially developed assessment methodologies it uses. HEP rates helmets on crash protection and rider comfort performance assessments. Crash protection includes energy attenuation tests at higher and lower drop heights than those in AS/NZS-1698 and a kerb anvil test tougher than ECE 22.05. More stringent penetration, dynamic stability, static and dynamic retention tests than those in AS/NZS-1698 are used. Rider comfort is assessed by way of on-road evaluation by experienced riders using sports and touring riding positions. Comfort factors, such as field of view and the helmet’s ability to seal out wind, water and dust and noise, as well as susceptibility to buffeting are rated. The paper discusses opportunities to make the rider comfort evaluations more reliable. HEP also assessed helmet fit, as a measure of the likelihood the helmet will fit a wide range of head sizes. Five star rating systems for crash protection, rider comfort and helmet fit are used and this is discussed in detail. Example results from the first series of assessments are presented to highlight benefits of the protocols. Public release of the HEP brochure and internet information, along with some early user feedback and the scope for further improvements and expansion of the program are also presented.