At a recent road safety event which also involved several road safety agencies, an officer stopped by at a helmet booth. The helpful staff introduced the helmets including new models that conform to the new ECE R22.06 helmet standard.
That was when things got a little “interesting.” First, he questioned why the helmets did not have the local SIRIM label. Well, imported helmets do not require SIRIM testing and labelling. Ironically, it was his ministry that approved the homologation and sale of the helmets.
Next, he questioned where did it state that the helmet conformed to the ECE R22.06 standard. It was obvious that the information could be found in two locations, namely the on one label on the back of the shell, and another is sewn onto a chinstrap.
It was a true story. Consumers at large (except in Europe where it is enforced) not knowing what they wear over their noggins is one thing but is alarming if not embarrassing for a regulatory body to be in the dark. So, since GIVI’s new helmets will conform to the new standard beginning with the GIVI M35.0 Scudo and lately the GIVI 50.9 Atomic, it is imperative that all riders know what the new standard entails.
Why are there helmet standards or standards at all?
Why a standard for helmets in the first place? Want another story? Ok, we shall oblige.
China did not exist as a single nation prior to 221 BC. Instead, it was made of several independent states, each ruled by a different king. Each nation had similar but not equal units of measurements, in addition to similar but different styles of writing.
Imagine the confusion and havoc among traders and you, the consumer: You ordered an arrow proof armor but it got pierced like a piece of paper, just because that armor came from another state with different measurements. (Kind of like some online shopping platform these days.)
So, the first thing Qin Shi Huang did when he conquered and unified these states in 221 BC was revamping everything into a single system i.e. standard.
Back to helmets, having a set of well-defined standards means helmets can be made safer. Helmet standards contain specific testing methodologies, test results, and requirements that must be adhered to. Failing any of these criteria signifies the helmet is not fit to protect the tofu upstairs. (Brain matter has the consistency of tofu.) Likewise, the absence of standards will result in helmets with varying degrees of safety.
What is the ECE R22.06?
The new ECE R22.06 helmet standard represents an almost total overhaul in terms of safety testing and hence rating. The new standard is a welcomed revision as motorcycles have gotten a little quicker since the R22.05 standard became mandatory in 2003. Additionally, there are an increasing number of riders who attach accessories such as action cameras and communicators to their helmets.
Let us begin with the basics before delving into the details, beginning with an explanation of standard. Please refer to the sample picture below, found on the back of a helmet:
- “ECE” stands for Economic Commission for Europe. It was set up in 1958 by the United Nations (UN) to promote economic cooperation and integration among its member states. https://unece.org
- The ECE then established standards for every conceivable product sold in the region in terms of design, features, safety, etc. These include electrical appliances, machinery, personal protective equipment, so forth.
- Hence the ECE Regulation No. 22 (ECE R22) was issued in 1972, which defined the requirements for testing and producing motorcycle helmets.
- As the ECE is under the UN’s jurisdiction, the ECE R22 standard is adopted by the UN’s member states as the worldwide standard for helmets thus you may see “UN R22.XX” or “UNECE R22.XX” and so forth on helmets.
- “.06” at the end of R22.06 refers to the revision series of the regulation – this being the sixth since 1972.
- The standard is recognized and implemented in 62 countries including Malaysia. The test and approval of helmets are carried out by official labs mainly in European Union countries besides in Japan, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
In addition to the sticker on the back of the helmet, ECE-approved helmets have a tag sewn onto one of the chin straps. This tag containing further type approval information can be found on all GIVI helmets, including the new GIVI 50.9 Atomic and GIVI M35.0 Scudo.
Referring to the pictures below for the tag on the M35.0 Scudo’s chin strap:
- “E1” in a circle: The country in which the helmet was tested and approved. E1 stands for Germany. Please refer to the table below for the country codes.
- “06300909”: The first two digits, “06” means the helmet is certified to the ECE R22.06 standard, while “300909” is the approval number for this model.
- “J”: Tested and certified as a jet-type (open-face) helmet.
- “003974”: Batch number of the test.
Referring to the picture below of the tag on the new GIVI 50.9 Atomic’s chinstrap:
- “06300883”: The first two digits, “06” means the helmet is certified to the ECE R22.06 standard, while “300883” is the approval number for this model.
- “P”: Tested and certified as a full-face helmet. The letter “P” denotes the chin bar as being “protective”.
- “000654”: Batch number of the test.
As for modular (flip-up) helmets, such as the new GIVI X.21 Challenger’s chinstrap:
- The GIVI X.21 Challenger conforms to ECE R22.05, but we wish to highlight the tag on the chinstrap.
- Note that the code begins with “05” instead of “06” as the helmet is homologated to the ECE 22.05 standard.
- “E11” in a circle: The was tested and approved in the United Kingdom.
- “050588”: The first two digits, “05” means the helmet is certified to the ECE R22.05 standard, while “0588” is the approval number for this model.
- Again, “P” means the chin bar is protective when lowered and the helmet performs its function as a full-face helmet.
- “J”: Tested and certified as a jet-type (open-face) helmet. The “J” type certification (for jet helmet) is necessary because the rider may ride with the chin bar up or removed.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: There are some modular helmets in the market with “J” only without the “P”, or with the letters “NP” which means the chin bar was not tested for protection or did not pass protective tests, hence not protective even when lowered and locked in place.
- “172657”: Batch number of the test.
Thank you for making it this far in Part 1. We shall continue with showing some of the important tests carried out for the ECE R22.06 approval in the next instalment.