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Is the DOT, SNELL or ECE 22-06 helmet the safest?

Melensdad

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Actually its a trick question in the title.

Everyone who has done any research knows that a DOT helmet, in order to pass their test, results in a FATALITY to the motorcyclist. Simply put, trusting your life to a DOT helmet will get you killed.

And now there is a NEW standard that will soon be used in approximately 60 nations. The new ECE 22-06 will be coming into effect next year. Currently we have the ECE 22-05.

There is also the SNELL, which is currently a bifurcated 2020 standard, which no longer makes sense. SNELL was a great standard for safety for the last decade or two, but perhaps no longer is as good as it was. It looks like the new ECE 22-06 standard makes the most realistic best standard for helmet safety while the DOT standard is still stuck in the 1950's and still results in fatalities.

This new video from the Canadian Fort Nine website explains why SNELL is no longer the best standard and why we need to be looking toward the new ECE standard to keep our brain firmly attached to our bodies. Enjoy.

 
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Melensdad

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Here is a pretty entertaining breakdown of why DOT helmet standards could get you killed.

 
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Doc

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Hey Bob,
I'm helmet shopping. What did you end up with?
Did you dare mail order or did you buy local?
 

Melensdad

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I have an Arai. I love it.

I’m looking at a Schuberth C3, C4 or E1 … but not for this year

I have no problem buying on line as most shops within 2+ hours drive of me don’t stock premium helmets. Premium helmets are worth the high price for their comfort. Not necessarily much safer than a mid-priced helmet but I tend to ride for many hours and that is where you really want the premium comfort of cooling material, the sanitation of anti microbial material, etc. if your goal is to take rides of an hour or so, round trips of 2 hours with a lunch break, then maybe a $600-$800 lid is overkill. If you plan weekend trips riding several hours to a destination or 5-6-7 hour loop rides then pay for a premium lid.

Head shape is critical. If you have an oval head shape you need a helmet for an oval skull. If you have an intermediate oval ….
Arai makes helmets for 4 different headshapes. There are helmet fitting calculators and sizing descriptors on various websites. Use them!

head shape is different than head size
 
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Doc

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Thanks Bob.
I have no idea what I want yet so I'll be experimenting. As far as ride times, I hope to work up to long rides but will start with 2 hour rides mostly. Eventually I want to ride the blue ridge parkway and the great Smokey mountains. Maybe next spring.
 

Melensdad

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For whatever it is worth, there is no definitive test that the premium helmets (which come at premium prices) are actually safer than lower priced helmets in real-world crashes. The data does not exist. But the fact that it doesn't exist does not mean that lower standard helmets are just as safe. Each state and each nation collects data differently and therefore there is no realistic way to PROVE a better helmet is actually better.

Now that said, there are lots of laboratory tests that show the DOT helmets are not as good as the ECE helmets or the SNELL helmets or the SHARP multi-star helmets or the FIM helmets. Actually there are lab tests that prove the DOT standard is fatal to humans. I figure it is best to err on the side of safety. Current ECE 22-05 and current 2015 or 2020 Snell standards are pretty much equal. The new incoming ECE 2-06 standard is better but there are only a handful of helmets tested to that standard. FIM is the best standard of all, but it is mostly a racing standard. I am content with a 2015 or 2020 Snell or ECE 22-05 helmet. But nothing less than that.

FWIW, every standard is higher than the DOT standard and there is no jurisdiction that will actually check to see if you have a DOT sticker on your helmet. But if you buy an ECE helmet and it doesn't have a DOT sticker on it, and you feel guilty about buying a better helmet, you can get DOT stickers at the local flea market, from eBay or from Amazon. They are also on lots of counterfeit helmets that are total crap and don't protect you from a golf ball, let alone a crash, so while I trust major internet motorcycle suppliers there is no way I would buy a helmet from Amazon, eBay or any non-motorcycle specific website that didn't have a serious return policy.

My current helmet meets DOT, ECE 22-05 and Snell 2015 standards. The lovely Mrs_Bob has 1 helmet that meets those same standards and another that meets only the DOT and ECE 22-05 standards, but not the Snell 2015. As of 2020, the Snell standard has become bifurcated and one of their standards meets DOT and the other meets ECE, and I would not trust the 2020 Snell/DOT helmets but I would wear the 2020 Snell/ECE helmets. To my logic the Snell standard has been lowered with their new system. And I simply don't trust anything that is simply a DOT approved helmet. So with Snell modifying their testing to meet the DOT that is sort of a kiss of death. A helmet that meets Snell 2020 + DOT is made very differently than a helmet that meets Snell 2020 + ECE 22-05. So I just go with the ECE 22-05 as the standard. And starting in 2024 the ECE 22-06 will be the gold standard of safety, but, as I previously stated, there are a couple helmets that currently test up to ECE 22-06
 
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Doc

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Thanks Bob. Clear as mud. LOL But, I have to agree with you that going with SNELL or ECE 22-05 seems like the way to go.

When you say 'premium' helmets are you talking the Carbon Fiber 3k and 4k ones? I think you are talking of the 600 dollar ones but wanted to be sure. I cannot fathom spending 4k on a helmet.
 

Melensdad

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Premium being the top brands (Arai, Shoei or Schuberth) or the upper end helmets from AGV, Bell or others. Generally priced north of the $600 point and typically closer to $800

These helmets use higher grade fabrics and liners and are generally considered among the safest.

The multi-thousand $$$$ helmets are typically race helmets and may not be particularly suitable for street use.
 
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Doc

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Actually there are lab tests that prove the DOT standard is fatal to humans.


Bob, I'm confused and concerned by this statement. Is this implying that in some instances a rider with a DOT helmet will not survive an accident? What type of accidents are we talking of? Nothing can protect a rider in every circumstance but we trust that DOT will cover most circumstances. Please elaborate. This is very important info. Thank You!!!!!!
 

Melensdad

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Actually there are lab tests that prove the DOT standard is fatal to humans.


Bob, I'm confused and concerned by this statement. Is this implying that in some instances a rider with a DOT helmet will not survive an accident? What type of accidents are we talking of? Nothing can protect a rider in every circumstance but we trust that DOT will cover most circumstances. Please elaborate. This is very important info. Thank You!!!!!!
We do not trust the DOT standard.

The impact test used by the DOT imparts a fatal skull injury. This has been known for years.

DOT is also a self certified standard so manufactures of lower repute will change helmet models quickly. Doing so allows them to discontinue a helmet that is claimed to be safe before it is subject to any test since the DOT typically tests randomly and usually after a helmet has been on the market a couple years.

So no, do not accept a DOT only helmet.
 
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Doc

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Ahhh got it. Thanks Bob.
I did not dig into it and always assumed DOT certification was A-OKAY. Duh on my part. :bonk:
 

Melensdad

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Reminder, there are a lot of FAKE helmets out there. They are designed to look like name brand helmets. They have all sorts of convincing features and claims. Often found on eBay, flea markets, etc. It it seems like a deal that is too good to be true, it is likely a deal that could actually kill you.

 
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Doc

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How cruel. What sicko's make these crap helmets and sell them knowing it would fail it's primary / only purpose. They should be put in jail and throw away the key.
Thanks Bob.
 

Melensdad

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How cruel. What sicko's make these crap helmets and sell them knowing it would fail it's primary / only purpose. They should be put in jail and throw away the key.
Thanks Bob.
They are EVERYWHERE

See whole displays of them at flea markets, sometimes at small shops, all over the internet for sale. Where you don't see them are at the reputable on-line retailers and reputable brick and mortar stores. Stick with brand names. Make sure you know what they are supposed to look like, correct wording for the stickers, etc.
 
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