May 28 2010.

New safety ratings for motorcycle helmets were announced yesterday by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning, as he unveiled a new website to give motorcyclists advice and information on choosing a helmet.

An extra 27 motorcycle helmets have been rated by SHARP - the Department for Transport's Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme and they are published on the website along with demonstrations of how the SHARP tests are carried out and how to make sure a helmet fits properly.

Said Penning, "We estimate that 50 deaths could be prevented each year if all riders wore the safest helmets available. That is why I am delighted to be announcing additional SHARP ratings at the same time as the new and improved SHARP website is launched.

"By making sure that motorcyclists have access to the best safety information, promoting further training and safe riding, and reminding drivers to look out for bikers I hope that we can improve safety for motorcyclists and reduce the number of tragedies we see on the roads each year."

All helmets must meet minimum legal safety standards but the SHARP scheme uses a wider range of tests to provide riders with more information on how much protection a helmet can provide in a crash. The objective advice, which includes important guidance on how to select a good fitting helmet, will help riders to choose the safest helmet suitable for them. The SHARP tests - which award ratings of between one and five stars - show that the safety performance of helmets can vary by as much as 70%.

The new SHARP website can be found at