ECE has updated its helmet testing standards, takes effect in 2023

Since the passing of the Republic Act 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS), is “mandated to utilize the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Protocols with regard to the standards that will be applicable to the approval or disapproval of motorcycle helmets that will be sold in the Philippines.”

ECE helmet standards get a much needed update after 20 years image

In a nutshell, it basically means that all motorcycle helmets that we use should comply with the current UNECE standards, which is currently the ECE 22.05. You can read more about helmet safety standards here.

In 1972, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, following the implementation of the UN 1958 Agreement, adopted UN Regulation No. 22 which covers motorcycle helmets. UN Regulation No. 22 has since been periodically updated to reflect progress in technical, medical, and materials research. UN Regulation No. 22 provides uniform conditions for the approval of protective helmets for drivers and passengers of motorcycles. It is currently being adopted by 47 countries around the world, including ours. It is now in its fifth series of amendments (.05) with each series increasing the level of stringency and protection. 

After more than 20 years since the fifth revision of UN Regulation No. 22, we might finally see an update with the coming of the new ECE 22.06 Standards.

The new standards call for more stringent testing processes. These include the newest findings from motorcycle crash statistics, materials technology, and more. These changes are set to be voted on in June 2020, and if passed, ECE 22.06 will come into force by June 2023, giving manufacturers 3 years to make their products compliant.

What are these changes?

Modular helmets

Unlike in the past, modular helmets will now be tested with the chin bar lowered into the locked position (closed) and in the raised position (open). These helmets must meet or exceed the revised regulations for protecting the user's head with open or closed chin bars.

Open-face helmets

ECE helmet standards get a much needed update after 20 years image

Since open-face helmets do not offer the user chin protection, they will have to be marked with an image warning that the helmet does not offer such. This serves as a reminder to buyers of the risk they are taking.

Reflective stickers

Helmets should come with reflective stickers installed or at least included, with instructions on where to place them. This new requirement was conceived to make the motorcycle rider more visible, especially during night time riding.

Helmet visors

ECE helmet standards get a much needed update after 20 years image

Helmet visors will also undergo more stringent testing. Under the new ECE 22.06, visors should meet or exceed regulations after being shot at with a steel ball at 60 meters per second. This simulates a pebble or debris impact on the visor traveling at 216 kilometers per hour.

Rotational injury

Perhaps one of the worst injuries a rider can suffer from a crash is the internal brain injury brought about by violent twisting and rotating of the head when impacting the ground. The new ECE 22.06 will include tests at varying speeds and angles to simulate those rotational forces on the helmet. Naturally, it must meet or exceed those standards.

Other new additions include testing of sun visors, Bluetooth communicators, among others.

Its impact

What do these changes mean for us consumers? The main benefit is that we will have stronger, safer helmets to protect our heads in a wider variety of riding-related incidents. Because they are more stringent, this may also mean they may become more expensive due to the new materials, research, and testing required to meet these new rules. Thankfully, its implementation date is tentatively in 2023, giving you lots of time to save up for a newer, more compliant one.