So you’re looking to make the shift to two-wheels, or perhaps you’ve been riding for quite some time now, and are in need of a new motorcycle helmet. Whether you ride a Scooter or a more powerful sportbike, having the right gear is essential. Now, it’s normal to have tons of questions running through your mind when it comes to this purchase. There are, after all, a plethora of options to choose from across multiple styles and price points. That being said, you can’t just hop on a motorcycle donning whatever helmet you please. There are indeed a number of things to consider when it comes to the legality of certain helmets. Let’s break it down a bit further.
So for starters, in order for a helmet to be authorized for use on a motorcycle, it must, of course have been designed as a motorcycle helmet. That means absolutely no bicycle helmets, skateboard helmets, and hardhats on board a motorcycle. In the Philippine setting specifically, motorcycle helmets which are legal for street use must have passed the Import Commodity Clearance certification. It’s easy to spot whether or not a helmet possesses this valuable certification. That shiny sticker at the back of your helmet with “ICC” printed on it? Yeah, don’t remove that, as it’s the sole basis of certifying the legality of your motorcycle helmet for use on public roads.
DOT, ECE, and Snell
As you can see, the answer is pretty simple. So long as your helmet has been designed specifically for motorcycle use, and it has a genuine ICC sticker, then it’s perfectly legal for use on public roads. However, if you want to ride at a level of safety that surpasses this rudimentary certification procedure, then there are a few more things to look out for. Most motorcycle helmets in the market come with one or more of the following ratings: DOT, ECE, and SNELL. Now these safety ratings hold significantly more water than merely the local ICC sticker, as each of them comes with their own types of testing.
The DOT standard is the bare minimum for motorcycle helmets to be legally used in the USA. These helmets are subject to testing after the manufacturers have released them into circulation in the market. That being said, it could pay to be extra vigilant by doing some research on the test results of a DOT-only rated helmet, as there is a chance that the helmet in question has yet to be tested, especially if it’s a new model. On the other hand, the ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) certification holds a lot more water in the sense that they undergo more stringent testing procedures even prior to being released in the market. That being said, the ECE rating is required for motorcycle helmets to be used in Europe.
Lastly, the Snell safety racing is probably one of the most niche and most uncommon helmet safety ratings. Named in the memory of William “Pete” Snell, a racing driver who died of severe head injuries after his helmet failed to offer adequate protection during a crash, this safety rating is required in order for a helmet to be authorized for use in racing applications. Likewise, Snell rated helmets tend to be more expensive thanks to their lightweight construction, and extensive research and development in order to ensure maximum levels of safety and protection.