Motorcyclists represent one of the most vulnerable road user groups. Typically in the UK they represent 1% of traffic but 19% of the casualties. Significantly, around 80% of all motorcyclist fatalities and 70% of those with serious injuries, sustain head injuries. Research also shows that, statistically, head impacts are distributed uniformly around the circumference of the helmet.
Research for the Department revealed significant differences in the degree of impact protection available from the vast range of helmets retailed in the UK. This formative research also indicated that the safety potential of a helmet is not necessarily reflected in the price that the consumer will pay.
Whilst all helmets that are sold or worn legally in the UK must meet minimum safety standards (e.g. approval to UN ECE Regulation 22.05), it was clear that some helmets exceed the minimum safety requirements to a much greater extent than others.
Research also highlighted that helmet detachment can occur during the accident sequence with reports indicating a frequency varying from 10% to 14% of casualties.