Safer but more expensive motorbike helmets

Published on 06.08.2021

The new UN R22.06 regulation came into force at the start of the year and will gradually replace the one that has governed the manufacturing of motorbike helmets for almost 20 years! But what does it represent in terms of progress?

The safety of motorcyclists and anything that might prevent an accident or minimise the consequences thereof are under constant scrutiny with a view to improving infrastructures, the reliability of motorbikes and last but not least the effectiveness of protective equipment. The requirements that motorbike helmets must meet in order to be approved are governed by the UN R22 regulation. The UN R22.05 regulation had been in force for almost twenty years, so it was certainly due an update!
 

More demanding tests 

The new regulation represents progress not only in terms of testing procedures but also in terms of their scope. It demonstrates greater resistance to impact, as tested on the basis of more criteria and with higher test values (temperature, speed of impact, etc.). First and foremost, however, all parts of the helmet will now be rigorously tested in accordance with this current international approval regulation.
 
The timetable for the implementation of the UN R22.06 regulation

  • January 2021: helmets can already be approved based on the new regulation, but the R22.05 version is still valid.
  • June 2022: only the R22.06 version will be valid for any type approval.
  • June 2023: helmets complying with the requirements of R22.05 can no longer be produced.

Equipment manufacturers are now incorporating these criteria into their new models and the race for approval is under way.
 

What does this mean for you? 

Helmets complying with the new UN R22.06 regulation are safer, but those approved in accordance with an earlier version of the R22 regulation can, of course, still be used. When buying a new helmet, you must ensure that it meets the current safety standards (see our advice from January 2021). Failure to do so could result in a fine of €145 and 2 points taken being off your licence
 
Although the 05 and 06 series of amendments to the UN R22 regulation stipulate that helmets and all related accessories must be approved in order to comply fully with market requirements, the national Highway Code only requires riders to wear an approved helmet. This being the case, any accessory added to an approved helmet that does not alter the technical characteristics of the helmet is considered compliant and may be used.
 
That said, it is always advisable to use approved accessories with the helmet, as these are specifically designed for and tested with the type of helmet in question. Any substantial modification to any of the technical characteristics (weight, volume, dimensions, etc.) is considered a danger to road safety and may result in approval being withdrawn.
 
It should also be noted that the visor of a helmet should not be considered an accessory but rather an integral part of the helmet and must be approved as such.
 

Safety comes at a price 

More testing of each part of the helmet also means higher manufacturing costs and these additional costs should, of course, be passed on to the consumer in what they pay.
 
Most importantly of all, be careful, and remember that the useful life of a motorbike helmet is around 5 years, so check the condition and age of your helmet and make sure you change it regularly. Your safety depends on it.
 
Happy riding with the ACL, and if you're looking for a getaway, be sure to check out our pages dedicated to motorcyclists. They are full of ideas, routes and useful tips!

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