This page explains the law on wearing motorcycle helmets in the United Kingdom. When riding a motorcycle or moped on the road it is compulsory for all motorcyclists to wear a safety helmet.
UK MOTORCYCLE HELMET STANDARDS: Wearing a motor cycle crash helmet first became compulsory in 1973.
The law also states that motorcycle crash helmets UK must meet or exceed British safety standards.
This guide has important information on motorcycle crash helmet safety standards. We list the 3 legal guidelines of UK helmet safety standards.
SHARP is the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme. You can use the SHARP rating system to help you make an informed choice on choosing the best motorcycle crash helmets.
Get all the latest information and guidance on motorcycle goggles, helmet visors, and motor bike protective clothing.
Safety Helmet Standards
All motorcycle safety helmets worn while riding on roads in the UK must meet one of the following regulations:
British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark.
UNECE Regulation 22.05.
A European Economic Area member standard offering at least the same safety and protection as BS 6658:1985. It must also carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark.
Motorcycle Goggles and Visor
Riding a motorcycle with a visor or goggles means they must either:
Meet a British Standard and display a BSI Kitemark.
Meet a European standard offering at least the same safety and protection as the British Standard. It must also carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark (UNECE Regulation 22.05).
Protective Motorcycle Clothing
Currently there is no law which regulates wearing other motorcycle protective gear and clothing. But, wearing specialised motorcycle gear gets recommended by police forces and emergency services.
PDF Download 'The Essential Guide to Protective Gear for Bikers'.
Wearing Protective Motorcycle Gear Might Save Your Life!
Motorcycle Helmet Regulations
The 'Motor Cycles Protective Helmets Regulations 1998' provides legal guidelines for motorcycle and moped helmet compliance. The motorcycle Highway Code also has further guidance on wearing motorcycle helmets and safety gear in the United Kingdom.
Rule 4. Protective Headgear
(1) Save as provided in paragraph (2), every person driving or riding (otherwise than in a side-car) on a motor bicycle when on a road shall wear protective headgear.
(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person driving or riding on a motor bicycle if:
(a) It is a mowing machine; or
(b) It is for the time being propelled by a person on foot.
(3) In this regulation:
'Motor Bicycle' means a two-wheeled motor cycle, whether or not having a side-car attached, and for the purposes of this definition where the distance measured between the centre of the area of contact with the road surface of any two wheels of a motor cycle is less than 460 millimetres, those wheels shall be counted as one wheel;
'Protective Headgear' means a motorbike helmet which:
(i) Bears a marking applied by its manufacturer indicating compliance with the specifications contained in one of the British Standards (whether or not as modified by any amendment) mentioned in Schedule 2 to these Regulations; or
(ii) Is of a type manufactured for use by persons on motor cycles which by virtue of its shape, material and construction could reasonably be expected to afford to the wearer a degree of protection from accidental injury similar to or greater than that provided by a helmet of a type prescribed by regulation 5;
(b) If worn with a chin cup attached to or held in position by a strap, is provided with an additional strap (to be fastened under the wearer's jaw) for securing the helmet to the head; and
(c) Is securely fastened to the head by means of straps provided for that purpose; and 'strap' includes any fastening device.