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Technical Response to the Unpublished Paper 'Critical Evaluation of the SHARP Motorcycle Helmet Rating' by NJ Mills

The SHARP motorcycle helmet safety rating scheme was launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) in June 2008 to provide motorcyclists with objective information on the impact protection offered by motorcycle helmets in the event of an accident. The rating scheme is based on considerable previous research regarding head injury mechanisms, motorcycle accident investigations, motorcyclist head impact accident reconstructions, and the development of an advanced helmet that demonstrated the potential for considerable improvement in the protection offered by helmets. Recently, an unpublished paper (Critical Evaluation of the SHARP Motorcycle Helmet Rating, by NJ Mills) has criticised the approach taken by SHARP to the rating of helmet impact performance. The authors have been asked by the DfT to provide a technical response to this unpublished paper, which is contained in the present report. The primary evidence sources for the SHARP protocols are the ‘European Co-operation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research, Action 327’ (COST 327), ‘New Helmet Designs: Performance Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis’ (S100/L) and ‘Motorcyclists’ Helmets and Visors – Test Methods and New Technologies’ (S0232). It is understood that the DfT will publish a separate paper that describes the details of the SHARP test and evaluation protocols. It is not the purpose of this report to duplicate this exercise, but instead to explain the technical foundations of SHARP and how they relate to real-world motorcycle accidents.

Author B Chinn, D Hynd Pages 58
Date 26/11/2009 Reference PPR452
ISBN 978-1-84608-943-5 ISSN 0968-4093

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