From a recent article published by Sussex Police:
The warning to riders comes after a man was stopped on Hastings Wednesday (12 September) riding a Kawasaki 900cc motorbike and wearing a pedal cycle helmet which had been mis-sold to him as a motorcycle helmet.”
Source: Sussex Police news article
There are 2 standards for helmets in the UK, to be legal for use on the road a helmet must pass and have a sticker displaying ONE of these 2 standards…..
BS 6658:1985 motorcycle helmet standard
The BS 6658: 1985 is a British standard and is one of 2 standards that a helmet can pass to be road legal in the UK.
The standard is usually an oblong red, blue or green sticker displayed on the back or the side of the helmet. The sticker has a BSI Kite Mark symbol in it.
The 3 different colours and levels for the BS 6658:1985 standard stickers are:
Red sticker – Type A/FR: Used for helmets with a fire-resistant lining (normally used in car racing)
Blue sticker – Type A: Used for high-performance helmets offering a better level of protection
Green sticker – Type B: Used for lower-rated helmets.
ECE22.05 or ECER22.05 motorcycle helmet standard
The ECE22.05 (also known as the ECE R22-05) standard is a basic European helmet standard. This is the other standard that a helmet can display to be road legal for use in the UK.
The ECE 22.05 testing is the equivalent of the DOT helmet testing in the USA and this approval covers both the helmet & the visor.
ECE22.05 approved helmets normally have a sticker stating that they are approved to this standard at the bottom on the back (normally next to the size sticker).
The picture above shows the ECER22-05 sticker on the back of a Nitro motorcycle helmet
ECE stands for ‘Economic Community of Europe’, ’22’ stands for the number of the regulation for testing and ’05’ stands for the ’05’ series of amendments to regulation 22 (OK, that was a boring bit!).
In recent years the ECE22.05 has been more commonly used then the BS 6658:1985 standard mainly due to the fact that most helmet manufacturers are ‘International’ companies (i.e. their helmets are sold worldwide) and it’s easier for them to use 1 standard that covers Europe and the UK (rather then use separate standards for the UK and the rest of Europe).
Unlike the BS 6658:1985 standard, the ECER22-05 standard doesn’t have different levels depending on the quality of the helmet.
Other standards – ACU Gold standard
ACU is a racing standard and is usually awarded to better quality helmets that are suitable for motorcycle racing.
The ACU Gold standard is a square, gold coloured sticker normally found on the back or the side of the helmet.
The picture above shows the ACU Gold sticker on the back of a Gmac motorcycle helmet
The Autocycle Union GB (ACU for short) is the body responsible for the governing of motorcycle racing in the UK (the UK equivalent of the AMA, American Motorcyclist Association, in the USA).
Originally, there were 2 standards for ACU approved helmets, silver and gold (ACU Gold being the higher standard). The ACU Silver approval has since been discontinued.
The ACU Gold sticker has been recognized by many worldwide motorcycle racing bodies as a high-level helmet safety standard for motorcycle racing & many of those organizations will only allow motorcycle racers to use helmets with the ACU Gold sticker.
The ACU Gold sticker isn’t required for a helmet to be road legal in the UK (a helmet has to have either the BS 6658:1985 or ECE22.05 standard to be road legal). But it is a slightly higher safety standard and generally indicates a slightly better quality helmet.
A Small word of warning re the ACU Gold standard – This is quite an old standard and seems to be fairly easy for modern helmets to pass. But, we have seen some fairly p*ss poor quality helmets brought into us by customers that seem to have the ACU Gold standard!