What is the purpose of the SHARP 2025 Project?
Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in Great Britain. Helmets play an important role in reducing the severity of motorcyclist head injuries during collisions. The Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP), launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2007, is a consumer information scheme that provides information about the relative safety of motorcycle helmets and advice on helmet selection for riders.
Since the SHARP scheme was launched, there has been new knowledge and understanding of the factors involved in motorcyclist injuries, including a focus on the risks associated with rotational forces experienced during real-world helmet impacts. This has led to important changes for several international motorcycle helmet test and assessment standards and regulations. To ensure the SHARP scheme remains up to date, the DfT is carrying out a research project to review and upgrade the current test and rating protocols of the scheme. To support these activities, the DfT wish to engage with key stakeholders and involve them in the SHARP 2025 project and development of the future scheme.
What is TRL’s Role in the SHARP 2025 Project?
TRL, on behalf of the DfT, will collect, review, and critically evaluate the available scientific evidence with a view to recommending updates for the SHARP scheme. TRL will also engage with stakeholders to establish viewpoints and ideas, share evidence and experiences, and gather feedback on to shape the short and longer term objectives of the SHARP scheme. Based on the analysis of this input, TRL will recommend updates for the SHARP test and rating protocols and for the ways DfT engage with stakeholders regarding the scheme in the future.
Sharp 2025 Project Approach
Work Package 1: Evidence Review
Using its extensive collection of literature, TRL will review and critically appraise the scientific evidence base relating to motorcycle helmet safety, head injury criteria, relevant national and in-depth motorcyclist collision data and international motorcycle helmet test and assessment protocols. A gap analysis will then be performed to identify, evidence and recommend possible amendments for the enhanced SHARP test and rating protocols.
Work Package 2: Stakeholder Engagement
TRL will engage with key stakeholders to seek feedback on, and solicit support for, the enhanced SHARP 2025 scheme using learnings from our stakeholder engagement work on the SHARP market analysis project which delivered successful outcomes. Project outcomes will be delivered to key stakeholders through a webinar.
Work Package 3: SHARP 2025 Protocols Updates
Enhanced SHARP 2025 protocol amendments will be drafted based on the evidence review, gap analysis and stakeholder engagement outcomes. The proposed amendments will be peer reviewed by international technical experts and key stakeholders, including relevant DfT stakeholders, before finalising the protocols.
Call for evidence
To contribute to this project, the DfT are seeking input from stakeholders to identify the evidence base for key factors associated with motorcyclist collision data, motorcyclist helmet impact mechanisms, head injury criteria and testing approaches. More information on this informal call for evidence may be found in the resources below.
As part of the November 2021 Road Safety GB Festival, the SHARP team led a roundtable discussion about the project: Advancing motorcycle helmet safety information for riders. Recorded and saved here on YouTube.
The full list of helmets tested by SHARP to date is available as a PDF here or helmets makes/models can be searched on the website.