In Europe, most countries adhere to the ECE helmet standard; currently, helmets are rated to the ECE 22.05 regulation. However, safety experts are working on a new plan, and soon that standard will be changed to ECE 22.06, if proposed changes pass a vote.

The ECE standard is set by the United Nations Economic Commission. The Commission is currently looking at a wide range of updates for the helmet standard, including new tests and warning stickers. Now, helmets are expected to be required to pass impact testing in 18 different points on the helmet’s shell; currently, only six points are required. The testing will include a new, higher-impact test, as well as a new lower-impact test, and a test of the helmet’s resistance to rotational forces in a crash. The visor test will also use a higher impact force. There are also new tests for drop-down internal sunshields, and helmets will be tested with Bluetooth communicators installed as well.

As well, individual helmet styles will have new standards. A new testing regime is being proposed for flip-front helmets; open-face helmets will require a sticker warning of reduced protection. There will also be requirements for manufacturers to include reflective stickers with the helmets, applying them for improved safety.

The current ECE 22.05 standard is accepted in many countries all over the world, although it is not legally accepted in the US. It’s been in place for 20 years. If the new standard is enacted (the UN authorities vote on it in June), it’ll be enacted to become law by June 2023; at that point, old 22.05 helmets will not be legal for sale.

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