Just a few months ago, we wrote about a new United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE) helmet safety standard coming. Put simply, to be deemed fit to sell in Europe, all helmet manufacturers need to comply with the current ECE standards for safety.
ECE standards for helmet safety were first adopted in 1978 and have been updated periodically since then. The last was in the 1990s, known as ECE 22.05. The latest, ECE 22.06, will be enforced in July 2023, giving helmet manufacturers 3 years to create products in compliance with it.
As expected ECE 22.05 introduces more stringent standards for testing, especially for open face and modular stickers, more warning stickers to be displayed, and the inclusion of reflective stickers.
The newest development is that helmet-mounted accessories, like communication systems and action cameras will have to comply with ECE 22.06 as well. The UN ECE noted that helmet-mounted accessories are becoming more commonplace, and thus, they should be crash tested. After all, their installation may affect the way a helmet is designed to perform, particularly when it comes to impacts and rotational forces.
To secure the certification, manufacturers of these helmet-mounted accessories will have to crash test these devices while installed on a helmet. They will be tested for their effect on energy absorption and rotational protection during a crash. Naturally, these devices must be fitted according to the instructions, as any customer would install one.
This should be no problem for helmets that already come integrated with a communication system or action camera out of the store. These models will simply be tested for their safety.
For aftermarket makers, however, they will have to test their devices’ crash safety with a variety of helmets with favorable results in order to secure certification.
Of course, all this is still in proposal stage and has yet to be voted on by the ECE council. If approved, along with the other provisions of ECE 22.06, they will still come into effect 3 years from now. As such, any consumer shouldn’t have to worry about compliance for a while.