ACU Gold Sticker - ACU Five Star
New ACU Five Star System to Combine Snell and ECE
22.05 Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards
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by webBikeWorld.com Combined Staff
Information on the new SHARP Five Star motorcycle helmet
The Autocycle Union (ACU Motorcycling GB) fulfills a
role in the UK that is similar to the American
Motorcyclist Association (AMA) in the U.S.A.
Both serve as the the governing bodies for motorcycle
racing, they help organize motorcycle clubs and other
issues such as communications with members and
interfacing with governmental regulatory agencies.
Both organizations are also the national affiliates
of the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM),
the overall governing body for motorcycle racing
standards. The ACU organization is over 100 years
old and was instrumental in the development of the FIM
way back in 1904 when motorcycling was in its infancy.
One of the declared roles of the ACU is that "it
sets, checks and revises safety standards, which ensure
that motorcycle sport is an insurable commodity."
Unlike the AMA, the ACU is involved in motorcycle helmet
safety standards through the issuance of the ACU Gold
sticker and the less well known ACU Silver sticker.
The ACU Gold sticker has been recognized by many
worldwide motorcycle racing governance bodies as a
high-level helmet safety standard for motorcycle racing;
many of those organizations will only allow motorcycle
racers to use helmets with the ACU Gold sticker.
ACU Gold stickers were normally awarded to motorcycle
helmets meeting the BSI Type A safety standard, while
the ACU Silver stickers were awarded to helmets meeting
the BSI Type B standard. But with the adoption of
the ECE 22.05 safety standards, the Silver sticker had
However, it was recently found that the ACU has been
selling ACU Gold stickers to distributors of many
different types of motorcycle helmets whether or not
they met BSI Type A. It was claimed that since the
ACU received a royalty for the use of the sticker that
they were devaluing the worth of the ACU Gold sticker by
selling them to many undeserving motorcycle helmet
To ACU's credit, they have decided to abandon this
strategy and attempt to bring back the value of the
sticker as a label of confidence to the consumer that
the helmet does indeed meet certain safety standards.
The plan is to have a new ACU five star rating for
motorcycle helmet safety crash testing. Helmets
sold in the UK will now be awarded 1 to 5 stars,
depending upon its ability to pass certain tests that
are a combination of Snell and ECE 22.05 regulations.
The ACU is working with the UK's Department for
Transport and Head Protection Evaluations (HPE), the
certified Snell testing laboratory in the UK, to develop
In general, there are differences between Snell and
ECE 22.05 standards. Snell tests involve dropping
the weighted helmet on a hemispherical anvil and include
a penetration test. The penetration test involves
a 3kg pointed spike that is dropped on to the helmet.
Some manufacturers claim that the helmet must have a
stiffer lining and shell to meet these tests and that
may be incompatible with the "softness" needed for
lowering of G forces and dwell time on the rider's head.
In any case, to receive the full ACU five stars, the
helmet will have to pass both the Snell and ECE 22.05
tests. We will see how this will affect motorcycle
helmet safety standards in the U.S.A.
Don't forget that many claim that there's really
nothing wrong with the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT) motorcycle helmet safety standard either (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218).
It's claimed that research has demonstrated that 90% of real life crash impacts are at or below
the impact requirements of the DOT performance standard for motorcycle helmets (also known
as FMVSS 218).
NOTE: This is a developing story.
It's unclear at this point what the new label may look like or what it
will be called. If you have further information regarding this
topic that you'd like to share with others, please send it to