Helmet Safety Standards Update 2024: DOT, ECE, Snell, and FIM

The Snell Memorial Foundation has been devoted to making motorsports as safe as possible since 1957. One of its flagship endeavors centers on making powersports helmets as effective as possible. Snell does that by publishing and implementing data-driven helmet safety performance standards. On November 1, Snell released its latest standards for motorcycle and other powersports helmets. There are two new sets of 2024 helmet safety standards from Snell—M2025D and M2025R.

Schubert S3 Review: Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet with sunshield

Certification under Snell Memorial Foundation standards is voluntary. The standards are more rigorous than the DOT FMVSS 218 standards, which are mandatory for helmets sold for road-going use in the United States. Snell certification indicates that the manufacturer is willing to invest in product quality that rises above the minimum.

However, Snell is not the only major helmet safety standard that is in the implementation phase of an update. The Economic Community Europe (ECE 22.06) helmet standards have replaced the ECE 22.05 standards.

The FIM Racing Homologation Programme’s FRHPhe-02 is replacing the FRHPhe-01 standard. It will be mandatory by 2026. These standards only apply to helmets intended for use in FIM-sanctioned races.

Alpinestars Supertech R10 Launch Edition Helmet: Jorge Martin

We’re including the FIM standards because they are the most advanced and sophisticated, representing what many consider the gold standard for helmet safety performance. As such, the innovations and rigor of the FIM standards may be emulated by other standards, thus migrating from the track to the street, as many other technical innovations have done. Finally, readers interested in competing in FIM-sanctioned events need to know about the FRHPhe-02 requirements for their gear.

The only major standard system to remain as it has been for many years is the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 218 (US DOT FMVSS 218). It is the one standard objectively ineffective in protecting helmet users because it allows the highest level of peak impact energy to reach the rider’s head. The DOT also allows an astounding percentage of helmets tested and proven non-compliant, even with the DOT’s low standards, to reach the street. We have covered that in detail.

To help illustrate which standards cover what and how we have a four-standard grid chart. This is not all-inclusive; see the reference materials for all the details.

Powersports Helmet Safety Performance Standards General Requirements Comparison

 (See references for additional details. As of Nov. 10, 2023)

© 2023 Gary Ilminen, RN

Element tested or value required U.S. Dept. of Transportation DOT FMVSS 218 U.N. ECE 22.06 Snell Memorial Foundation M2025R and D FIM FRHPhe-02 (Full-face race helmets 2026)


Self-certification Test result documentation not required Pre-market third-party testing required Pre-market third-party testing required Pre-market third-party testing required
Minimum sample size No pre-market testing specified; post-market testing only by NHTSA contractor Up to 50 production specimens, random sampling: 8 to 26 based on batch size M2025D: 7 to 9 & follow-up sampling

M2025R: 7 to 9 & follow-up sampling

Ten samples
Peak acceleration allowed (g) Linear impact Note: lower g value is more protective ≤400g Linear high energy ≤275g

Linear low energy ≤180g

M2025R 257g/275g

M2025D 243g/275g dependent on headform

≤275g or ≤170g, depending on test mode. ≤275g at the chin bar
Peak rotational acceleration (PRA) Not tested 10,400 rad/sec2 M2025R & M2025D: 10,000 rads/sec2 10,000 rads/sec2
Other criteria None HIC HIC PLA, SFC, BrIC, PRA
Positional stability against “roll-off” Not tested Not tested Tested Not tested
Shell penetration Penetrator must not touch headform Not tested Penetrator must not touch headform Penetrator must not touch headform
Shell rigidity test Not tested Tested Tested Tested
Face shield (integral) tests Not tested Light transmittance, diffusion, impact, scratch resistance, color fidelity Yes; half helmet and ¾ coverage helmets with shields not included Per ECE standards
Retention system test Static and dynamic Static and dynamic Static and dynamic Static and dynamic
Quick-release buckle special tests Not tested No inadvertent release, durability No inadvertent release allowed No; Double D-ring required
Peripheral vision ≥105° from midline ≥105° from midline ≥105° from midline ≥105° from midline
Surface projection 5mm max ≥2mm must be able to break away ≥7mm must be able to break away ≥2mm must be able to break away
Includes youth helmet sizes No Yes (down to 48cm) Yes (down to 50cm) No
Emergency removability No No Yes Quick removal cheek pad criterion
Accessories test No Yes No N/A
Official labeling Rear shell exterior Chin strap interior Interior or exterior Chin strap interior
Key: g = gravity constant m/s2 = meters per second squared; rad/sec2 = radians per second squared
HIC: Head Injury Criteria PLA: Peak Linear Acceleration SFC: Skull Fracture Criteria BrIC: Brain Injury Criteria
PRA: Peak Rotational Acceleration Shaded cell = gap in performance criteria


Helmet Safety Standards Update 2024 References


571.218 Standard No. 218; Motorcycle helmets
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Motorcycle Helmets
Displaying title 49, up to date as of 11/07/2023. Title 49 was last amended on 11/06/2023.

U.N. ECE R 22.06

UN Regulation No. 22 – Rev.5 – 06 series

Snell Memorial Foundation



Technical requirements for helmets
FRHPhe—02 Homologation Manual