Transport Research Laboratory

New cycle helmet assessment programme (NCHAP): protocols development

Amount awarded


Due to complete

Q1 19/20

Making roads safer for…

Pedal cyclists

Group of cyclists all wearing crash helmets

Project summary

A grant of £99,520 has been awarded to develop the testing protocols for a safety rating scheme for cycle helmets. Currently there is very limited free and independent consumer information relating to the safety performance of pedal cycle helmets.

All cycle helmets sold in Europe have to meet regulatory requirements, which is set at a mandatory performance, but different helmets achieve these baseline requirements by varying margins. Consumers therefore find it difficult to discern to what extent one particular cycle helmet offers a greater level of protection than that of another.

The aim of this project is to create a set of testing protocols that can be used to rate cycle helmets, providing users with relevant, transparent, and free (at the point of sale) safety performance information, which ultimately enables consumers to consider the safety performance of a helmet within their purchasing decision.

To support the development of the protocols, TRL will design and undertake a series of helmet impact tests, using TRL’s helmet impact test facilities. These tests will be designed to address gaps within the current scientific literature and to further the scientific communities understanding of the impact performance of cycle helmets. The results of these tests, along with the protocols will be published within a peer reviewed journal, providing transparency to the rating scheme.