What do all the different bike helmet safety certifications mean?

Confused about all the different bike helmet safety certifications, and whether all countries adhere to the same standard? Nik Cook has this advice

What do all the different bike helmet safety certifications mean?

Researching cycling helmet standards is a real rabbit hole of acronyms, codes and bewildering language. To add to the confusion, not all countries adhere to the same standards.

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In the US, it’s the Snell rating; Australia and New Zealand have their own standards with the most demanding testing; Japan has its own; while the EU has the CEN standard. Where the UK will be post-Brexit, who knows. You’ve then got additional ratings, such as MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), which, although not compulsory for a helmet to be rated for cycling, offers increased levels of protection.

So, where does this leave you? The simplest advice we can offer is to stick to well-known and established brands and, most importantly, try before you buy to find a helmet that fits correctly. Even the highest-rated helmet, if it’s perched jauntily on the back of your head or doesn’t fit securely, isn’t going to do its job if you have an off. 

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