FIA Foundation/GHVI Proposal Objective of the Proposal Currently, ECE R.22 is part of the 1958 Agreement concerning the Technical Prescriptions for wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts which can be fitted and/or be used on wheeled vehicles and is currently available for regulatory and consumer information purposes. Research has shown that helmets that are in compliance with ECE R.22 or another national motorcycle helmet standard provides excellent protection and significantly reduces the risk and severity of a head injury. At present there is no published epidemiological data that shows that helmets qualified to any given national motorcycle helmet standard provides superior head protection relative to another national motorcycle helmet standard. However, there is overwhelming research that indicates that the difference in injury outcome between an unhelmeted head impact in a motorcycle crash and a helmeted head impact in a motorcycle crash is significant. The scientific research is clear that the use of a motorcycle helmet provides significant protection against skull and brain injury (Liu et al., 2008).
The immediate implementation and adoption of ECE R.22 would appear to be an obvious solution for any country which does not have an existing motorcycle helmet standard. Unfortunately, implementation of the ECE R.22 regulations requires a significant capital investment in equipment and a high level of technical expertise. This presents a significant challenge both financially and technically to many developing countries.
At present, the performance requirements of the ECE R.22-05 standard as well as all earlier amendments and revisions dating back to ECE R.22-02 published in March 1982 can only be fulfilled by a full face or open face style helmet with a minimum of 25 to 30 mm of energy absorbing material. This type of helmet is not well accepted in tropical climates and as a consequence, helmet usage rates remain very low in those regions where ECE R.22 has been implemented (e.g. Republic of the Philippines).
In a developing country, the cost for an ECE R.22 qualified helmet would be a minimum of approximately $40 USD. A safety investment of this amount in regions where the hourly wage is $3 USD or less is highly unlikely. Instead, the motorcycle rider is more likely to buy a lower cost counterfeit helmet that falsely claims to have ECE R.22 compliance. Such helmets typically have little or no energy absorbing liner and are generally made with very poor materials. These helmets provide little or no protection to the wearer in the event of an accident. The presence of such counterfeit helmets compromises the integrity of ECE R.22 as well as the manufacturers who develop helmets that are in compliance with this regulation.
The supporting members of the FIA Foundation/GHVI consortium propose the creation of an informal working group for the development a standard for light weight protective helmets for motorcycle users. The first task of this informal group would be to consider a methodology for the development of such a standard that is consistent with the harmonization objectives and existing framework of WP29 and GRSP. This lightweight protective helmet standard would not be intended to replace the existing ECE R.22 motorcycle helmet standard.
The desired objective of this effort is to provide a technically feasible standard that can be implemented in those regions that currently do not have an existing motorcycle helmet standard and do not currently possess the technical expertise to develop their own motorcycle helmet standard and motorcycle helmet standard test procedures. Such a standard could represent the first step towards future harmonization with ECE R.22.
FIA Foundation and GHVI have currently developed a draft standard for this purpose. This draft standard builds upon the knowledge base developed by those countries and regions that currently have motorcycle helmet standards, including countries that currently require ECE R.22. The tests included in this standard have all been published in other safety helmet standards. There are no new tests or procedures related to this standard. The tests that are included in this draft GHVI standard are not inclusive of all tests that exist in other motorcycle helmet standards. However, the tests that are included in this standard will assure that helmets meeting this specification will provide excellent head protection for all motorcycle riders. The equipment and procedures used in the draft GHVI standard are not technically challenging and are consistent with other international motorcycle helmet standards. Therefore this standard represents an adequate initial standard that will allow for future harmonization with ECE R.22.
It would be the task of this informal working group to review the draft standard and complete the tasks necessary for such a regulation to be incorporated into existing or new regulations as needed.
Background and Rationale for the Standard Road accident research has found that in most high-income countries, motorcycle fatalities typically comprise around 5% to 18% of overall traffic fatalities (Koornstra et al., 2002 and Mohan, D., 2002). This proportion reflects the combined effect of several important factors including the relatively low ownership and use of motorcycles in many developed countries, and the relatively high risk of these motorcycles being involved in crashes involving fatalities. Research in the USA has found that these risks are much higher for motorcycle than for vehicle travel (NHTSA, 2004).
In low-income and middle-income countries, car ownership and use rates are generally much lower than in high-income countries. However, the ownership and use of motorcycles and other two-wheelers is generally relatively high. For example, Mohan (2002) has reported that in India 69% of the total number of motor vehicles are motorized two-wheelers, considerably higher than in high-income countries. Reflecting this difference, the levels of motorcycle rider fatalities as a proportion of those injured on the roads are typically higher in low-income and middle-income countries than in high-income countries (Figure 1). For instance, 27% of road deaths in India are among users of motorized two-wheelers, while this figure is between 70–90% in Thailand, and about 60% in Malaysia (Mohan, 2002, Suriyawongpaisal and Kanchanusut, 2003, Umar, 2002). In China, Zhang et al. (2004) has reported that motorcycle ownership between 1987 and 2001 grew rapidly from 23% to 63%, with a corresponding increase in the proportion of traffic fatalities sustained by motorcyclists rising from 7.5% to 19% over the same period. However, in other low-income and middle-income countries, a lack of high quality road safety data means that precise levels of motorcycle rider fatalities are still not known.