The AHRMA Board of Trustees has implemented new/revised helmet regulations for the 2015 season, which were first published in the December, 2014 issue of Vintage Views. It is very important for each competing member to be familiar with any new requirements and make certain he/she is in compliance before arriving at the first event.
The biggest change is for competitors in motocross and cross country events. The 2015 Handbook wording (Section 3.3.14) is as follows:
“Helmets worn in vintage and post vintage motocross and cross county may be open- or full-face type and certified by the manufacturer by having a sticker affixed to the helmet stating the helmet meets or exceeds at least one of the following standards: U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) FMVSS 218; Snell M2010; Europe's ECE 22-05 ‘P’, ‘NP’ or ‘J’; or Japan's JIS T 8133:2007. All helmets used in vintage and post vintage motocross and cross country must have been manufactured within the prior 60 months. Only OEM chin-strap fasteners may be used (no aftermarket quick-release fasteners are allowed).”
All helmets must meet just one of the four standards listed. While the Snell standard has been updated to M2010 (compared to the 2014 season’s M2005), the most-significant change is the requirement that all helmets be no older than 60 months, based on the date of manufacture, and not on the date ofpurchase. It might be fun to recreate the look of the 1960s-‘70s, but using a helmet from that period is not a safe choice.
Nearly all helmet manufacturers make recommendations as to the life expectancy of a helmet, and when this important piece of safety equipment should be removed from service. A common recommendation is five years (60 months), which is now the rule for AHRMA competition (with the exception of observed trials).
The impact-absorbing foam liner breaks-down over time, which means decreased protection in the event of an accident. Other factors can speed-up this deterioration process – such as hair spray, paint fumes and even auto exhaust fumes (if the helmet is used for commuting in heavy traffic situations) – so a user might consider replacing a helmet even more frequently than 60 months. Of course, any helmet should be replaced after a major impact. If you believe your helmet should no longer be used by anyone, it can be decommissioned by cutting the chinstraps.
It is very possible your current off-road helmet is too old to be used – check the date sticker!
To determine when your helmet was produced, look for a sticker that’s affixed to the “Styrofoam” inner liner – you will likely have to remove or pull-back the soft ‘fit liner’ to find the sticker, which will have a month and year date on it (certification stickers are not manufacture date stickers). On some helmets, the manufacture date can be located on one of the chin straps, either as a heat-stamp, sewn-in tag or D-ring engraving. There are many older helmets that are available for purchase as new products. Buying a closeout special will likely get you a helmet that will only be suitable for a short period of time (if at all). The best way to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth is to go to your local motorcycle shop, try-on different makes and sizes of helmets to determine the best fit, then personally have a look at the date sticker before purchasing.
The 2015 observed trials helmet rule is:
“Helmets worn in vintage trials may be half, open- or full-face type and must meet or exceed U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards or equivalent international standards.”
Helmets designed for non-motorized activities – such as horseback riding, hockey or bicycling – are not acceptable.
The requirements for roadrace and dirt track are very similar to last season:
“Helmets must be used in all AHRMA competitions and practices. Helmets worn in roadracing and dirt track must be full-face type and certified by the manufacturer by having a sticker affixed to the helmet stating the helmet meets or exceeds the Snell M2010, FIM BSI 6658 Type A (“Blue Label”), FIM ECER22.05 or FIM JIST 8133:2000 standard. All helmets used in roadracing and dirt track must have been manufactured within the prior 60 months. Only OEM chin-strap fasteners may be used (no aftermarket quick-release fasteners are allowed).”
Finally, AHRMA Handbook section 3.3.14 closes by saying:
“All helmets are subject to inspection by AHRMA competition officials to ensure compliance. This inspection does not warrant the condition of a participant's helmet. It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure his/her helmet is in good and safe condition. Riders are prohibited from using damaged helmets. If there is any question regarding the condition of a helmet, an appropriate helmet expert should be contacted for inspection and advice.”
Again, check your helmet to ensure it meets the current standards before driving to an event to avoid any unpleasant surprises!