I have been jealous of our British readers for sometime now, as the government in the UK has seen it fit not only to have one of the best helmet safety rating systems known to man, but they have made their test results incredibly accessible to the two-wheeled going public. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s worth taking a look at Britain’s SHARP website before buying your next lid.

SHARP takes impact analysis from five regions of the helmet, and then based on analysis from which points on the helmet are statistically more likely to be hit during a crash, assigns a weighted score to the helmet’s safety score.

Basing laboratory analysis with real world probabilities, SHARP  is perhaps the most pragmatic rating system available for motorcyclists, but more importantly it is the most transparent and accessible.

Well know it looks like we can be jealous of Australia as well, as our riding brothers and sisters down under have their own public database of helmet crash statistics, appropriately called CRASH, which like its British counterpart, does away with some of the guess work in helmet safety, and makes that data available to consumers.

An effort put together by a consortium of government agencies, the CRASH program is funded by Transport for New South Wales, NRMA Motoring & Services, and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

Like the SHARP website, CRASH rates helmets on a scale of one to five stars, but consumers can drill down further to see a bevy of numerical scores on various impact and safety tests — a “CRASH rating” if you will, which takes into account more than just impact scores.

While CRASH doesn’t breakout results for impact analysis on different hemispheres of the helmet, like SHARP does with its results, the data given is far more detailed than anything else publicly available, and between the two sites, a very comprehensive picture of a helmet’s ability to protect your noggin can be ascertained.

Right now, it looks like CRASH has only a limited number of helmets and manufacturers available on its listings, though we imagine that will change as the group tests more helmets that are in the Australian market. If you’re looking to buy a helmet, we recommend taking into account the ratings on CRASH and SHARP first.

Source: CRASH

  • Tav

    Thanks for this. I’ve read elsewhere that a helmet complying with the Australian standard may well be a different build to the same model helmet bought in other markets. Eg the shell thickness tends to be thicker in Australia. Just something to bear in mind.

  • One definitely has to take into account the different helmet homologation laws for each region. But, until the US gets a comparable rating system, all of us are just buying on conjecture. Right now, we have to use the tools we have available to us.

  • paulus

    It is worth looking into the ratings… the high performers are not necessarily the most expensive brands.

  • Jim

    Of course, here in the US, helmet standards haven’t been up graded since G. Washington or at least Peter Eagan was a young man.

  • Cam

    @Tav: I call BS – it’s just the Aussie distributors marketing ploy to persuade us to buy locally. I (and mates) hardly ever buy helmets from within Australia.

    Another waste of government resources, we might as well just utilise the UK CRASH site ratings.

  • Doctor Jelly

    I haven’t looked into a new helmet since my last one (c.2009/10), but at that time I didn’t know of any good sites, such as these, comparing crash stats (per CRASH the one I got ranks 3 stars for safety and 2 for comfort…). However, at that time I learned about helmet/head shapes from Web Bike World which helped me find a helmet that would fit my somewhat squared off head (I have to go to the rounded side of their rating scale) and allowed me to take advantage of an online deal without trying to hunt one down for fitment. Something that it doesn’t appear either SHARP or CRASH seem to make note of…

  • paulus
  • Ba Wild

    Being from the UK I have seen the praise and complaint over the SHARP ratings plenty. While of note that Arai, one of the globally most trusted brands, have some of the lowest scoring helmets and none of the highest scoring helmets, they are also quick to complain the ratings are flawed. Well, they may or may not be but having something other than guess work has to be good, surely. Still as ‘Doctor Jelly’ implies the best thing you can do when purchasing an helmet is to ensure a proper and comfortable fit.