New European helmet standards proposed

The Variant can be a tight-fitting helmet at first, but it loosens up as time goes by.

The UN agency that sets ECE motorcycle helmet standards is looking to significantly update its testing regime.

For the past 20 years, the United Nations Economic Commission has tested helmets to the ECE 22.05 standard; helmets that meet that standard are recognized all over the world, including here in Canada (but not in the USA, where DOT is still the standard). Now, they’re talking about significant updates to introduce ECE 22.06 testing standards.

The changes will include an increased number of impact tests (from six impact points, to 18 impact points), with more energy in the high-impact test and also a new low-impact test. The new testing protocol will also study the effect rotational forces have on a helmet, and will have impact tests for drop-down sun shields. Face shields will now have to resist more impact force during testing, and if the helmet company offers proprietary Bluetooth comm systems or other similar add-ons, those will be factored into testing as well.

But wait, there’s more! The updated testing will also change standards for individual helmet styles, like open-face or flip-front helmets.

All in all, the Euro testing standards will look considerably different if this passes the Commission’s vote in June. If that happens, it will become the standard in mid-2023, and ECE 22.05 will no longer be legal for sale in some markets.


  1. Flip front helmets will be tested with chin bar up/down, MIPS seems to be almost a prerequisite and the faceshield testing looks a lot like pre-existing VESC-8.
    I seems to me that they are looking at the new FIM standard and aligning with that.

    • It’s going to be interesting. One can’t help but wonder how much behind-the-scenes money and lobbying has gone into this. While I concur that helmet technology is getting better, I don’t think that there are widespread fatalities in countries with ECE 22.05 helmets due to insufficient protection, EXCEPT in cases where it was obvious. Yes, you’re more likely going to die in a Nazi helmet, than in a full-face helmet. The danger is that if the whole industry goes all SNELL, we’ll see a bunch of ricky racer lids that are just silly for real-world riding. But I think they’re trying to avoid that with the low-speed test.

        • I honestly did not think anyone would get that reference.

          I have worked and attended Formula One races in three countries and two continents. I watched Riccardo Paletti die directly in front of me in my grandstand seats. I watched that Hungarian Grand Prix live on TV. When the director cut to Massa’s weaving Ferrari, I was immediately crestfallen. Deep down, I knew something was very bad. When I finally saw the onboard, I had the gag reflex.

          But, it has been over a decade and Felipe-baby seems to have got over it, so why not a wee chuckle? 😉

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