A motorcycle helmet is used for the safety of the bike riders. There have been many organizations in the world that set the parameters, whether the helmet can be used by the bike riders or not. A helmet has to undergo a series of tests in order to qualify for retail selling. One of the most reputed organization is Snell, which was founded by Pete ‘William’ Snell in 1957, and since then, it has tested out a countless number of helmets of different brands all over the world.
Snell standards have been considered among the world’s toughest standards for motorcycle and bicycle helmets and other protective gear. The company has maintained its quality since day one, which is perhaps the reason that a helmet that is Snell certified is picked up confidently by the bike riders.
The most important test for helmets
One of the main tests that company focus is ‘impact testing’, which determines how the helmet will perform when the helmet hits hard on a vehicle or the road. No other test is going to provide a better estimate as to how a helmet will perform.
The helmet is positioned on the test head-form, which then gets dropped on a metal anvil through a couple of guided falls. This test is repeated on four different spots against rounded or flat shaped anvil. The helmet is also tested against the steel edge anvil in order to check whether the helmet can withstand sharp pointed objects or not. All these tests are good enough to determine the efficiency of the helmet.
There is no precise estimate as to how much energy will be generated when the helmet hits a concrete object hard. The amount of energy is totally dependent upon the velocity of the biker’s head at the time of impact. The height and the weight of the head-form are going to decide how severe the impact would be. The process is a bit complex, but it needs to be done in order to test the ruggedness and reliability of the helmet.
The impact process helps Snell’s testers about the precise results. It has been found that the person is not injured due to the fall, but the injuries occur due to the sudden brakes. The testers working in Snell measure the suddenness with an accelerometer. When the helmet hits the steel anvil, the impact of the event is measured by the accelerometer. Actually, the deceleration is measured through the duration of the entire incident. The testers take a look at the acceleration pulse to find out whether the helmet has succeeded or not.
In order to determine the pulses, the peak value is set to 300 G, but the company makes sure that the pulse surpassing 200 G should not be more than two milliseconds. In the Snell labs, the technicians test the samples of helmets, according to the standards set by the Snell before giving the certificate to helmets. These tests are conducted on a daily basis because the company doesn’t want non-certified products to enter the market.
Integrity of the employees working in Snell
Snell is not associated with any helmet manufacturing company, thus no questions related to their honesty can be raised. There aren’t any representatives from any helmet manufacturing brand that is present in the top level of the company’s decision making. The company is well-aware of the fact that when people see the name and the logo of Snell on their helmets, they feel safe and confident because they know that they are donning a reliable helmet.
It is not just the common people who are confident about the Snell certification, but professional racing bike riders as well. This is one of the top reasons why Snell has been there at the top for the past five decades. Another great feature about Snell is that it updates its standards after every five years, which is based on the new R&D that is done by the technicians of the company.
The company tests around 3,000 helmets of different sizes and models every year. The company also tests random samples in order to ensure that the bike riders get the best protection for their head. So, when you plan to buy a helmet, then don’t forget to check Snell certification mark.
Has your helmet been SNELL certificated?
Many of us use a motorcycle as the main traveling vehicle but have you ever really get knowledge about the quality of gears in addition to the ability of protection of them for you? Take the helmet for an example, while it is used as a shelter or even an items for fashion, how do you know whether it is the best one to save your head or not? What are the differences between a DOT helmet and a SNELL certificated one? If not, you should follow this article.
1. What are the purposes of wearing a helmet?
Due to Snell Director of Education Hong Zhang, he says that wearing a helmet means of managing energy and in case there is an accident with your motorbike, it will save that source of energy, not your head. Besides, to determine whether a helmet can manage energy or not is not easy really because it is not just through naked eyes on the thickness of foam layer inside the hat, the weight, the material or even the price tag. The only way is an extensive experiment.
That is the goal for SNELL to reach. SNELL foundation does not produce helmets but they just make it safer for the users. To carry out this, they choose very strict standards and served as an independent lab to make sure all the producers can afford them. To check the quality of a helmet, a motorbike helmet model in a determined dimension area must afford all specific goals in each unit of the testing: impact security, retention lines, rotational firmness, external shell and face shield percolation and chin bar collision.
One of the most essential tests is “buckshot test” that simulates the pieces thrown into a rider for their standard. A SNELL certificated helmet is claimed for managing energy from 40 percent to 110 percent, which is better than DOT standard.
2. The comparison between a DOT helmet and a SNELL certificated:
The Department of Transportation remains DOT standard and the minimum ones that a producer needs to pass through. DOT certification is carried out on the honor lines, the producers claim that their products have achieved the DOT standard and after that is their qualification.And standards for D.O.T certificated helmet patterns are allowed to use for road traffic in the US are FMVSS No.218(Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218). So, when briefly saying one’s hat is standardized “D.O.T”, please understand that the hat is satisfied FMVSS No.218 standard of DOT.
Who will test the helmet?
With DOT standard, the interesting information is that the National Highway Safety Administration (Management Agency Highway Traffic Safety) does not directly test and certificate for the helmet form. It means that the manufacturer will test the quality of each sample and seal DOT if the sample achieves FMVSS No.218.
National Highway Safety Administration will inspect by randomly selecting1 hat and taking to a laboratory for independent testing. If it is found in violation of the standard conical form, manufacturers can be fined up to $ 5,000 for each hat.
With SNELL certification, it is stricter than government standards and is ready to assist manufacturers by providing advanced testing methods. Manufacturers want to have this certification can participate in the test of organizational standards and their products will be certified according to the standard (currently standard is M2010) and the manufacturer can affix stamps Snell Certified.
Once certified, the product will not have any changes in the production process. Snell will continue random checks for the products sold. If there is any violation, the certificate will be revoked.
How to do the test:
With DOT, FMVSS No.218 is set for helmets for road traffic, according to three main criteria:
– The ability to reduce the impact of collisions (or can be understood as the ability to absorb shock)
– Resistance to penetration
– Ability to be fixed (determined by the system’s strap cone)
Corresponding to the 3 criteria, each hat is tested by dropping from a certain height to an especially smooth surface. Then to collide with one sharp object also fall from a certain height to the helmet shells to test the resistance to the penetration. And to test the ability of the strap, the strap of the hat will be stressed with gradually increasing traction: 22,7kg in the early 30s then increased to 136kg within the next 120s
With SNELL, The Snell Foundation tests evaluate each helmet on 4 criteria / specifications for many different conditions. Impact absorption test is performed in the same conditions like ECE and DOT, as well as drop tests from a height free-fall fixed with a built-in gauge to measure helmet forces moved inside the hat.
However, this test will be performed to varying degrees by year. The highest speed allowed is 300G.
3. The strict level:
The DOT is more merciful than SNELL certification so that the protection of a DOT helmet is not strong much.
Please note that Standard FMVSS No.218 D.O.T and other standards (ECE, Snell) are not contradictory and mutually exclusive. Therefore,a helmet can meet many different criteria.
Motorcycle Helmet Brands With Snell Certified Motorcycle Helmets
We understand that and we were once the same way. Here’s the thing with a helmet though. It protects your head and skull and it the one piece of protective gear that can make the biggest impact between life and death. Don’t be cheap. Buy a new, top brand helmet from one of the following manufacturers (yes, they have a range of reasonable budgets they accommodate). It is way too important an item to just try nickel and dime. Note that all of the following manufacturers have amazing safety ratings and meet all Snell requirements: