SHARP, the DfT’s (Department for Transport – GB) Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme helps riders to make a more informed choice when choosing a helmet.
The helmet safety scheme
Up to 50 lives could be saved each year if motorcyclists wore the safest helmets available to them.
SHARP came into being in
2007, after the Department for Transport found real differences in the safety performance of motorcycle helmets available in the UK.
While all helmets have to meet minimum safety standards, research showed that up to 50 lives could be saved each year if motorcyclists wore the safest helmets available to them.
That’s why SHARP is here.
Taking the best bits from current standards around the world, SHARP raises the bar – putting motorcycle helmets through a more rigorous and targeted testing process.
Thanks to a simple five star scoring system, SHARP provides motorcyclists with independent and objective advice, revealing the different safety performances of UK motorcycle helmets.
A properly fitted helmet is the best form of protection available to a motorcyclist. It can lessen the severity of injury in a crash by cushioning the blow and spreading it over a larger area of energy absorbing material (that’s the good stuff inside every motorcycle helmet).
With motorcyclists representing just 1% of UK traffic but 19% of all road fatalities, it makes sense to ensure the helmet you’re wearing offers you the greatest protection possible.
Although a minimum legal safety standard for motorcycle helmets already exists, SHARP believes motorcyclists deserve more. We offer stricter and more robust testing, independent advice, and a rating system that’s helping riders across the UK make the right choice when shopping for a helmet.
SHARP recommend you invest time trying on as many helmets as possible. Once you’ve found those that fit you best, you can then choose the helmet with the highest SHARP rating for the best possible protection.
Their advice is that every head shape is different, so they have pulled together some tips to help you choose the right fit.
1. Get measured
Your safety is too important to simply guess your size.
Before trying on any helmets you need to make sure you know your exact head size.
Measure around your head just above the ears and take a measurement at the forehead.
This measurement is a good starting point and will correspond with a particular brand’s size (always bear in mind a medium in one brand may be different to medium in another).
Getting the right fit is paramount, so don’t be tempted to go for another size if your dream helmet is out of stock.
2. Try it on
Ok, so you’ve chosen a helmet to try.
Now place it firmly on your head, securing the chin strap so you can fit two fingers between the helmet and your jaw.
If the helmet has a quick release buckle then take your time adjusting the strap. Once on, you should be able to feel the helmet against the whole of your head – without feeling ‘pressure points’ or the helmet leaving red marks.
Once you’re happy, keep it on for a few minutes to make sure it’s comfortable.
3. Check the fit
Secure the strap and try rotating the helmet from side-to-side.
If you’re wearing a full face helmet your cheeks should follow the helmet’s movement, while remaining in contact with the cheek pads firmly and comfortably.
If the helmet moves or slips on your head it’s probably the wrong size.
Next, try tilting the helmet forwards and backwards.
Again, if it moves or slips it’s probably the wrong size.
4. Will it stay on?
You want to know the helmet you buy will stay firmly on your head in a crash.
Make sure the chinstrap is done up and tilt your head forward.
Ask someone to try and roll the helmet off your head by carefully pushing up from the rear of the helmet at its base.
If you can roll it off in the showroom, then it’s sure to come off in a crash.
Visit the SHARP website for full details and animations on fitting and testing.
When you think motorcycle helmet safety, think SHARP.
Original source: sharp.direct.gov.uk