Europe: World-first motorcycle helmet ratings published [Jun 15 London England]--Fifty lives a year could be saved by ground-breaking motorcycle helmet safety ratings revealed last week by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick.
Ratings for 56 of the most popular full face helmets on the market were published after testing by SHARP - the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme set up in a world-first by the Department for Transport last year.
The SHARP tests - which award ratings of between one and five stars - showed that the safety performance of helmets can vary by as much as 70%.
Jim Fitzpatrick said: "Too many motorcyclists - 599 in 2006 - are dying on our roads. They account for just 1% of all road traffic, but for 19% of all those killed. But if all riders wore the safest helmets available 50 lives could be saved each year. That is why we started the innovative SHARP scheme and are delighted to publish the first results today.
"Helmets from across a wide price range and from a variety of manufacturers have received four or five stars - so all riders should be able to find a high-scoring helmet in a size and style that fits them and at a price they want to pay."
All helmets must meet minimum legal safety standards but the SHARP scheme uses a wider range of tests to provide riders with more information on how much protection a helmet can provide in a crash. The objective advice will help riders to chose the safest helmet suitable for them.
The SHARP program can be accessed online.