Is my motorbike helmet road legal in the UK?

From a recent article published by Sussex Police:

“Sussex Police are warning motorbike riders to be aware of pedal cycle helmets being mis-sold via on-line auction sites as motorcycle helmets.

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

I’m not exactly sure how you mistake a push bike helmet for a motorcycle helmet, but this post lists the relevant standards that SHOULD be on a road legal motorbike helmet in the UK.

Push or motorbike helmet?

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.

BS 6658:1985 helmet standard

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.

BS Standard on the back of a helmet
Above is a picture showing the BS 6658:1985 (type A) sticker on the back of an AGV helmet.

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.

ECER22.05 helmet standard

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).

ECER22.05 on the back of a helmet
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.

ACU Gold helmet standard

The ACU Gold standard is a square, gold coloured sticker normally found on the back or the side of the helmet.

ACU Gold on the back of a 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!

Sources/Thanks to…..
Pistonheads article
BSI Group
White Dog helmet and size guide

57 thoughts on “Is my motorbike helmet road legal in the UK?”

  1. Just to confirm.

    I want a Scorpion Exo 1100 Kranium. It is only available in the US but conforms to ECE 22.05. I can import and wear legally??

    Cheers

  2. Can l wear a British kevlar helmet on my bike?,also where can l get a road legal German helmet that meets u.k or e.u standards as I’ve been told that d.o.t. helmets are not legal here which you would think would be the case,seeing as we are allied to the U.S.A.or are there any other E.U. countries that make them, l would be grateful if you could tell me where. Yours Sincerely Ken Carver

    1. Legally, you can wear any helmet that has passed the ECER22.05 approval on a bike in the UK. As Germany is part of Europe, any road legal German helmet should, same as the UK, have the ECER22.05 standard and sticker on it.
      If you mean the more ‘streetfighter’ style, custom German helmets, not many of them are legal for use on the road (mainly because the helmets look cool, but don’t protect you head very well and/or severely restrict visibility for the wearer).
      The DOT helmet approval is a US standard and isn’t really recognised on Europe (DOT testing is different and has different pass levels to the European testing, so they are not really interchangeable).
      I can’t really tell you where you can buy them as I don;t know which brand or style helmet you mean?

  3. i am wanting to have a custom paint job on my crash helmet which has the ACU Gold standard decal and a blue sticker – Type A.
    Can i get replacement Decals???

    1. I’m not sure if you can buy the stickers anywhere. Your best bet would be either to contact the helmet manufacturer (some may help you out) or a local dealer/supplier for your brand of helmet?

  4. Is the new bell rogue helmet legal in the uk? On forums I see that they are being worn in Holland.what is the fine for not wearing an approved eu helmet?
    many thanks
    mark

    1. If the helmet has the ECER22.05 sticker (and has passed the approvals) it will be legal in the UK.
      If your buying it from the US I doubt it will have the European approvals.
      Not sure what the fine is TBH?

  5. Are Australian approved helments legal in the UK? It has a sticker issued by SAI Global “Australian Standard AS 1698”

    1. To be completely legal for use on the road in the UK I believe it would have to at least have passed the ECER22.05 approval and have the sticker.
      You may not be able to use the helmet for UK racing and/or track days either as it won’t have the ACU Gold sticker.

  6. Just bought a new Bell (Italian made) helmet which has no ECER22-05 sticker on it, as my other helmets do. Dealer says it’s not a requirement to have that marking as all helmets sold in UK have to conform & said that the label (E3 + a series of numbers) stitched to the strap inside shows it’s approved & legal to use. Is that correct? Thanks.

    1. The numbers on the strap are normally for approvals relating to the strap only (not for the whole helmet)?
      As Bell are a fairly well know brand, so the helmet should meet the relevant safety spec, but it might be worth contacting Bell directly or a Bell helmet dealer to check.

  7. I have ECE helmet, can i use it in any of USA race track?

    If i have SNELL helmet can i use it in UK race track?

    Thanks

  8. I baught a JFM helmet and there are no stickers what should I do ? And is there a minimum sticker amount in the uk

  9. Hi, I bought a helmet from the US and it has the DOT standard label on but no ER or whatever the european one was, I assume this means I in fact can’t wear it on the road in the UK?

    1. You’d need to speak to a bike copper to double check but I think it does need the ECER22-05 sticker.
      However, if the helmet is a descent, recognisable brand (one that’s available in the UK for example) it’s unlikely to draw attention.

  10. Hi I have a shoei GT air wanderer with dot marking from America. is this equivalent to UK and legal in the UK cause I’m led to believe they are all made in Japan originally thanks.

    1. No, the DOT standard isn’t equivalent or legal for the UK (I think it’s only really valid in the US, UK and European helmets should have the European standards).
      Saying that, as Shoei is an easily recognisable and well known brand, it would possibly be fairly unlikely you’d be pulled up by the Police because it had a DOT sticker on it (might be a different story if you had a no name/unrecognisable brand helmet?).

      I don’t know where Shoei helmets are made, but, from what I’m led to believe, most major helmet manufacturers make differences to the helmets for different areas of the world (mainly due to differing head shapes and helmet laws in different areas of the world).

  11. Is my Caberg Justimo GT, flip face helmet road legal if ridden with the flip open? I cannot find any reference to ECE 22.05 on it?

  12. Hi I have just brought a helmet. That stated it was legal to ECE2205 standards, however has no markings on the helmet. Apart from a small label on the chin strap with E13 in a circle and a code? Answers will be appreciated. thanks.

    1. The ‘E13’ label is the approval for the chin strap (it’s a separate test and doesn’t apply to the rest of the helmet).

      What make and model of helmet is it?

      Although the helmet should have passed the ECER22.05 approval to be legal for use on the UK roads, I’m not sure if it has to actually display the sticker.
      You could contact the helmets manufacturer as they may be able to help you out.

  13. Hi,
    I have purchased a brand new Bell Bullitt helmet that has all of the relevant stickers and markings to allow use on UK roads but I was wondering if it is a legal requirement to keep the stickers on the outside of the helmet. I would like to take them off as to give a cleaner look to my new helmet.
    Regards,
    Paul

      1. Thanks for your reply, I have just completed my Mod 1 training today and asked my instructor the same question. He said it’s perfectly fine to remove the stickers. He said if the Police stop you and have reason to believe the helmet is not allowed for road use then they have to prove why! This kind of makes sense to me so the stickers are now off ☺

  14. Hi
    I’ve just bought a Shoei neotec flip front helmet in Japan, but it has no EC sticker on it. Am I ok to wear it in the UK? They are made over here.

  15. Interesting read. My wife just borrowed my shoei helmet to do her cbt but they said she couldn’t use it because it had no Europe sticker on it. It does have the gold ACU sticker on it though! I’m wondering if the sticker has come off or do you know when the EU stickers started as it is quite an old helmet, maybe 6 7 years old?

  16. Hi , I wanted to put a few addons on my helmet. Ie, lights bluetooth speaker and some black tubing make it look like a gas mask sort of thing. Is this legal in the uk? I will only be using 3m tape to hold the stuff on so there will be no structural damage to the helmet.
    Thanks. Scott

    1. Not sure to be honest, I would imagine it will be OK as long as your not actually modifying the structure of the helmet (e.g. cutting it).
      The main thing to bear in mind is how the modifications might affect the performance of the helmet (e.g. will the parts you put on the helmet come off and causes problems at speed, will they restrict visibility, how would it affect the helmet if you came off and landed on 1 of the bit’s you added etc?).

      The reason manufacturers don’t recommend using stickers or tape on the helmet is because they have no way of knowing if/how the sticker glue will react with or affect the structural integrity of the helmet shell…

  17. Hi there,
    I’ve got 2 Caberg Helmets, both bought from Italy when i went there visiting, one of them is a Trip and the other is Hiper-X, none of them have any stickers, however they are on sharp and show 5*. Could i be in trouble because of the stickers? Maybe it’s somewhere inside/not visible?
    Thanks

  18. I have an AGV K2 series ‘Orient’ helmet. Its only markings are E 2205 not ECE22 05 . Would this helmet still be legal on UK roads. PS . It does have the Gold British MC sport approved label.

    1. Yes, your helmet would be legal in the UK.
      There are a few different variations of the ECE directive, but, I think, the ACU Gold sticker also makes it road legal anyway?

  19. Hi i have just bought a fox v1 race helmet and it says it exceeds the ece and dot 22.05 so does this mean it is road legal in the U.K.

        1. DOT is an American approval, not sure if it’s valid in the UK?
          Most UK helmets have either the ECER22.05 approval, an ACU Gold sticker or (on some older helmets as it was phased out a while ago) a BS 6658 approval sticker (either blue or green).

          DOT and SNELL approvals are normally used in the USA (the DOT standard stands for ‘Department of Transportation’ and is a Federal Motor Vehicle safety standard).

  20. I have Simpson ghost helmet says it’s ECE approved for road use in uk but only sticker on the back says FINAL QC PASSED . i only have cbt so will it be ok to use when i do my full test if there is no ECE sticker on the back.

    1. Well, it says on the Simpson website that the helmet is ECE certified so it should be legal for use on UK roads.

      You might want to ask the people you bought the helmet off about the ECER sticker, instructors or test examiners may question the helmet if it’s not got a sticker on the back (personally, I would use a plain/normal helmet if I was taking my test as it’s not worth doing something that might upset the examiner!?)

      1. Yeah thanks i did purchase it from a UK seller that have confirmed that the numbers on the strap means the helmet is ECE 22:05 approved . has a large E (country of testing) then underneath long number that starts with 05 (ECE regulations No) followed by approval Number and then serial number.

        1. Ok didn’t no that thanks I’m fine using it for road use but thought it was bit strang that there is no ECE sticker on the back so agree with you when it comes to doing my test will be using one with clear ECE sticker on the back thanks again

  21. Just got a Nolan n104 there is only the E3 on the strap and visor my old caberg was the Same both bought from my local dealer in the uk

    1. Nolan is a recognised make and if it came from a UK dealer it should be ok (although it should really have an ECER22-05 sticker on it). The ‘E3’ on the strap is to show the strap meets it’s own approvals (so it applies to just the strap, not the whole helmet). Same with the ‘E’ number on the visor.

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