The FIM is getting into the helmet certification game, creating a new protocol – as part of the FIM Racing Homologation Programme (FRHP) – to test helmets that are worn in FIM-sanctioned motorcycle races.
Previously, the FIM had relied upon domestic testing criteria, such as DOT standards in the United States, ECE standards in Europe, and SG/JIS standards in Japan.
With those standards varying in how they test motorcycle helmets though, the FIM Technical and Circuit Racing Commissions saw a need to create a single unifying helmet crash test protocol that will be used at any event the FIM sanctions, starting in the year 2019.
The FIM isn’t rocking the boat too much though, and will still us an oblique crash test for its testing methodology.
Also, it is not clear at this time how the FIM testing standards will differ materially from the current battery of standards out there, but the international organization already has support from several big name helmet makers, like AGV, Shark, and 6D Helmets.
“The homologation will allow the FIM to ensure a more complete and high-end protection for its riders and in particular to better track and control helmets used in FIM competitions,” said FIM President Vito Ippolito.
“The FIM is also hopeful that the new testing protocol will serve as an inspiration for disciplines other than circuit racing, and cascade to international standards for road use.”
There does seem to be some advanced thinking from the FIM about rotational energy on impact, as well as low-energy impact scenarios – two hot topics in the helmet space right now, when it comes to rider safety.
Talking about this, Robert Reisinger (Director of Engineering at 6D Helmets) said the following: “6D Helmets is excited to see advancements in a formal test standard that incorporates rotational testing and lower energy mitigation that the FIM has developed. We look forward to future advancements in helmet testing definitions and the positive results that it will bring for consumers and racers alike.”
If the FIM is smart, it will make the rigors of its testing protocol more stringent than the current requirements at the national level, which would then allow helmet manufacturers to build to a single-spec of helmet design.
Presumably then, this would lower manufacturing and design costs for motorcycle helmets, since separate designs won’t have to be made for each country or region.
That might be easier said than done, however. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.