SHARP (helmet ratings)

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Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme
SHARP logo - UK helmet rating scheme.png
SHARP logo -
UK motorcycle helmet rating scheme
Status Active
Year started 2007; 10 years ago (2007)
Organization Department for Transport (DfT)
Base standards British Standards BS 6658,
ECE Regulation 22
Domain Motorcycle helmets, road safety
License UK Crown copyright

SHARP (the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme) is a British government quality ratings scheme for motorcycle helmets, established in 2007,[1] with the objective of improving motorcycle safety on UK roads.

Helmets which are selected for testing by SHARP are purchased from consumer retailers.[2] This ensures that the helmets tested by SHARP are exactly the same as what UK motorcyclists can buy.[2] The helmets are tested, seven for each model, using 32 tests, which aim to measure the protection they offer the brain in impacts at a variety of speeds, and against both flat surfaces and kerbs.[2] It rates the helmet models from one to five stars - with five being the highest,[1] and states that a five star rated helmet "offers good levels of protection right around the helmet."[3]

Nigel Mills of the University of Birmingham criticised the SHARP scheme in a paper in 2009, examining its testing of rotational acceleration,[4] despite SHARP using the test procedures specified in British Standards BS 6658, and also the United Nations World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations ECE Regulation 22. The UK's Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) delivered a detailed response addressing the Nigel Mills paper in November 2009.[5] SHARP stress that irrespective of their own ratings, all helmets sold in the UK have been certified to comply with the relevant legal standard, namely ECE R22.[6] However, it also points out that there is a 70% difference in protection between a SHARP one star rating compared to their five star rating.[3]

SHARP has been given two prestigious road safety awards; the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award (2013, Motorcycle category)[7] in recognition of its outstanding contribution to improving road safety, and the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) annual Road Safety Award recognising achievements in helping motorcyclists.[8]

Some retailers of motorcycle helmets use SHARP star ratings as a selection criterion.[9]


  1. ^ a b "SHARP Helmets - Frequently Asked Questions". SHARP Helmets. Retrieved 9 April 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "SHARP Helmets - SHARP Testing". SHARP Helmets. Retrieved 9 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "SHARP Helmets - Ratings". SHARP Helmets. Retrieved 9 April 2017. 
  4. ^ Mills, N. J. (2010). "Critical evaluation of the SHARP motorcycle helmet rating" (pdf). Int. J. Crashworthiness. Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham. 15: 331–342. 
  5. ^ "Technical response to Nigel Mills paper". 
  6. ^ "SHARP Helmets - impact zone diagrams". SHARP Helmets. Retrieved 9 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards". RoadSafe. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "SHARP helmets - Frequently Asked Questions, p2". SHARP Helmets. Retrieved 9 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "Sharp 4 & 5 Star Ratings". Helmet City. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 

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