Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings | FortNine Canada (2024)

How to Choose a Safety Rating

In Canada, helmet laws are stipulated by the province or territory. Usually, they only require that a helmet meet one of the DOT, Snell or ECE ratings. And in many cases, archaic certificationslike the Snell M2005, BSI and CSA are legally acceptable as well.

So staying legal isn't a problem. But which option is the best? Motorcyclists will argue over this question until their heads explode. The most common consensus is that Snell and ECE are superior to DOT, and that ECE has a slight edge over Snell. Of course, there are many riders who would start yelling blasphemy if they heard me say that.

A Snell-certified helmet ensures the most impact absorption and often has the thickest foam layers to back it up. In contrast, ECE operates under the assumption that impact absorption must be balanced with weight. The idea is that a lighter helmet gives your head less inertia in a crash, which can reduce neck and back injury. As far as research can tell, ECE may have something here. MotoGP thinks so too, as theyrequireECE style helmets fortheir racers.

As acompetitive rider, yourtrack or race organization may stipulate which helmet you need to use. If not, the best option is to buy a helmet certified by DOT and Snell or ECE. Two stickers are safer than one, so just cover your bases rather than agonizing over the choice.

If you do some international travelling on your motorcycle, a DOT-rated helmet will open doors in America. However, ECE is the most commonly used certification overseas.

If you want to know more, read our quickbreakdown of eachcertificationbelow. And remember:a safetyrating is useless if the helmet doesn't fit right. Make sure to read our fitment section before choosing your lid.

DOT Safety Rating

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings | FortNine Canada (1) The U.S. uses the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (FMVSS218) to measure helmets. Any lid that passes is affixed with a Department of Transportation approval sticker: DOT.

The DOT rating favors a shock-absorbent helmet and, indeed, current scientific research indicates that shock absorption is the best strategy for motorcycle safety. The DOT standard does not require chin bar testing. Thus, you will find that open face and half helmets are oftenDOT approved.

DOT is the standard for any state that requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet. So, if you do a lot of riding south of the border, picking up a DOT approved helmet is a must.

Snell Safety Rating

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings | FortNine Canada (2) The Snell Memorial foundation is a non-profit organization, founded in the name of William Snell – a car racer who died of a preventable head injury.

As a private organization, manufacturers have to apply for a Snell rating. If they do, Snell runs a series of in-house tests on the helmet which, in theory, are perfectly unbiased. Snell updates their criteria every five years based on the advancements in scientific research. The Snell M2005 rating is widely regarded as being too hard and impact resistant. However, the current Snell M2010 rating is more shock-absorbent. This is in accordance with today’s research, and the M2010 rating is generally well-respected. As a testament to this, the current M2015 ratings are nearlyidentical to M2010.

Until recently, Snell refused to certify any modular helmets. So, if you’re looking for something of the flip-up variety, a Snell rating will be hard to find. Snell is considered to be quite picky, and they like it that way. For this reason, they are thought to have some of the highest standards in motorcycle safety. Many race tracks and organizations require a Snell rating from their riders.

ECE Safety Rating

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings | FortNine Canada (3) An ECE sticker indicates acceptance by the UN Economic Commission for Europe. As DOT is the universal requirement for America, ECE is the universal requirement for Europe. It’s also the most commonly used standard worldwide – over 50 countries haveit as their benchmark. So if you’re planning on circumnavigating the globe on an epic two-wheeled adventure, an ECE helmet is probably the best bet.

One unique thing about ECE is that they require batch testing before the helmets are released for sale. For any ECE helmet you buy, then, the organization must have tested and approved a helmet from the same production run. This protects riders from manufacturing defects, which might otherwise go undetected.

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings | FortNine Canada (4)

Shop all our helmets here!

Motorcycle Helmet Safety Ratings | FortNine Canada (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated:

Views: 5993

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.