A new Government motorcycle helmet safety rating scheme was launched last week by road safety minister, Jim Fitzpatrick.
SHARP - the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme - will give an independent rating of how much protection a helmet can provide in an impact. Helmets will be rated from one to five stars depending how well they perform in laboratory tests.
SHARP's objective advice will help riders choose a safer helmet by measuring the extent to which it exceeds the minimum standards.
The first SHARP results are expected to be available next spring, with the majority of helmets on the market tested before the end of 2008. Early results show that good performance is not restricted to premium price helmets.
Footnote: Jim Fitzpatrick has also announced the launch of the DSA's Enhanced Rider Scheme, a new training package for riders with a full motorcycle licence. Those who pass the Enhanced Rider Scheme will get a certificate that will put them in line for discounts on their insurance.