We all wear helmets when we ride, but how much do we actually know about the safety Standards? Whether you’re a rider or handler, or even a retailer who stocks helmets, it is important to be aware of what we are putting on our heads – remember, they protect our most vital organ!
What is a safety Standard?
There are a number of Standards and certifications that helmet manufacturers must meet, all of which have a set of checks that must be carried out before they hit the market. There are three main international safety Standards that all helmets must meet at least one of: PAS015:2011, EN 1384: 2023 and ASTM F1163:23. These Standards rigorously test the helmets using a variety of different methods, many of which mimic situations that might occur involving riding and working with horses. Different types of riding may require different helmets and safety Standards, so it is important to ensure that you check which types of helmet are approved for your discipline.
Each of the different Standards has its own criteria, and may focus on different types of injuries. For example, a helmet used for show jumping might focus more on minimizing the injury after a linear impact fall, whilst helmets used for cross-country focus on maintaining strong crush resistance. The Standards also assess how much of your head is covered, how the helmet fits and sits on the head, how much it moves and it’s security, as well as how a rider falls and what type of surface they might land on.
After a helmet has passed the initial safety test, some certifications require them to be regularly batch tested. The Kitemark for example, requires helmets to be batch tested several times after they have been produced, before they are allowed to be released for sale. Once they have passed, they receive a BSI Kitemark label, which indicates that the manufacturer has continually complied with the testing criteria. Kitemarks are also known as quality marks, which are awarded to helmets that not only meet the requirements when first produced, but also continue to meet them in batch, annual or audit testing. Such marks include the Kitemark, IC mark, SEI mark and SAI mark. Whilst conforming to a Standards is mandatory, kitemarks are voluntary, Only a few manufacturers choose this more rigorous frequent testing.
Do evoke helmets meet the safety standards?
A lot of companies source their helmets from the same manufacturers – all they do is change the design slightly to include their own logo! This is where evoke is different. We have some of the industry’s leading names; from our Technical Director, who sits on the European Standards Committee and anchors the brand's safety-centric approach, to our designers who ensure that safety comes with style. We’ve also ensured that our helmets meet multiple Standards, meaning that the rider is protected from as many accident scenarios as possible.
We aim to make all of our evoke helmets to triple standard: PAS015; 2011, EN 1384 2023 and ASTM F1163-23. This means that our helmets with be able to deal with a higher number of situations, as tested, than a single or double Standard helmet.
Our Polaris helmet will add SNELL E2021 to the other three, which is a more extreme Standard. The key differences that make SNELL significant include a penetration spike drop at a greater height, a drop onto a hemispherical and horseshoe anvil, and a measure of crush resistance that uses greater force. The SNELL certification is the highest helmet standard in the world at present, and was used for motorcycle helmets before being adopted by equestrian brands. It is the best choice of helmet for disciplines with increased risk, such as cross-country.