For a motorcycle helmet (and visors if fitted) to be sellable AND comply with the law in the UK it must be approved to a standard. Since the 1990s in the UK the identifying standard has been ECE2205. It is a testing standard that proves a specific helmet model can perform to the required level whilst undergoing various impact tests.
You can identify if your helmet meets ECE2205 by looking inside, usually on the back of the strap for a label about 4cm x 2cm as per the picture above. There may also (but not always) be a sticker on the back of the helmet.
Some helmets are approved to both “DOT” (the US standard) and ECE2205. That is OK, but if a helmet is only approved to “DOT” then it is not valid to be worn in the UK.
The Gold ACU sticker on the back of some helmets has no relevance for the road and UK helmet regulations.
Some helmets from other parts of the world do not meet any standard. Do not use them. We have seen students turn up to CBT time to time with these. They will not meet the safety requirements expected in the event of an accident.
Before ECE2205 there were British Standards identified by the “kite mark” label. It is still legal to wear these but they can no longer be sold. However, you should consider the age of the helmet displaying a BS kite mark sticker as it will by now be well over 15 years old and helmet lifetime is around 3-5yrs of average use.
On the label will be some other numbers and ending in a letter
- If the letter is a P then it means the helmet has been approved as a “Protective” or full face helmet
- If the letter is a J then it means the helmet has been approved as an open face helmet (“Jet style”)
- If J/P then the helmet is approved as both open and full face. This is useful to know if you have a flip front helmet. Not all flips are approved as both J/P, many are just P and so the performance has only been tested and approved with the flip front down and locked.
ECE2206 is a new development in the current standard that will replace ECE2205 in the next couple of years. You can already buy helmets from some leading manufacturers that meet ECE2206. You can continue to wear your ECE2205 helmet, even when ECE2206 becomes the only sellable helmet, again considering the suggested lifetime of a helmet. For all your motorbike training needs, contact 3CMT.