Abstract: The article compares four standards: Snell M2005, Snell M2015/M2010, DOT, and ECE 22-05. M2005 and the current DOT Standard (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218) apply largely to motorcycle helmets intended for the US and Canada. ECE 22-05 applies to helmets for sale in Europe. M2015 is essentially the same as the previous Snell M2010. It is the current Snell motorcycle helmet standard and is intended to apply to helmets in every part of the world.
DOT and ECE 22-05 are mandatory; motorcycle helmets distributed for sale in particular geographical regions are obliged to meet them. Snell standards are voluntary but Snell certified helmets distributed in particular geographical regions must also meet applicable mandatory standards. Snell certification is intended to identify a subset of those helmets available to motorcyclists which provide superior protective capabilities beyond those mandated by government. Snell standards call for helmets to be tested at higher levels of impact severity than either DOT or ECE 22-05. However, M2005 is incompatible with ECE 22-05 for helmets intended for smaller head sizes. Medium, Small and Extra Small size helmets which meet Snell M2005 requirements for superior protective performance are still almost certain to be rejected for ECE 22-05. M2010 and M2015 correct this and are compatible with both DOT and ECE 22-05 while, at the same time, demonstrating more impact energy management than either of them. Download the article (pdf)