The Snell Memorial Foundation Motorcycle Helmet Standards

The Snell Memorial Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving helmet safety standards. While the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Snell Memorial Foundation have similar helmet standards—and both DOT-approved (Department of Transportation) and Snell-approved helmets are safe choices—Snell’s rules are typically regarded as more comprehensive.

Here are the four most critical components of the Snell Memorial Foundation’s motorcycle helmet safety standards.

Impact Management

Impact management refers to how well the helmet protects the head against collisions. The Snell Memorial Foundation performs impact management tests by placing a helmet on a ‘head’ test form. Then, the head and helmet are dropped from different areas, speeds, etc. Impact is just one element in how to choose a safe motorcycle helmet.

Helmet Positional Stability

The second most important component of motorcycle helmet safety is the helmet’s positional stability. Positional stability refers to the position on the head that the helmet is located at the time of the collision, ensuring that the helmet is in a position to protect the head. Like impact management tests, the Snell Foundation conducts thorough tests to ensure the highest standards of positional stability.

Retention System Strength

The Snell Foundation tests helmets to check whether or not the chinstraps on a helmet are durable enough to keep the helmet on the head in the event of a motorcycle accident (or bicycle accident). There are two different tests conducted to assess retention system strength; the first attempts to displace the helmet using shock loadings, and then second applies shock loads through a test chin. If the chinstraps do not remain in place and attached, the helmet will fail.

Extent of Protection

The fourth most important component of helmet safety is the extent of protection—or the total area of the head covered—offered by the helmet. The scope of protection is a very comprehensive test that uses head measurement to ensure that all areas from one point in the head to the other are covered.

Which is better: Snell or DOT?

All Snell-certified helmets meet DOT standards, but not all DOT-certified helmets meet Snell standards. However, as long as a helmet is either DOT or Snell-certified, it should significantly help to protect your head in the event of a motorcycle accident.

If you’re involved in an accident where you were not wearing your helmet, read our motorcycle accidents blog about compensation for head injuries in a crash without a motorcycle helmet. To learn more about your rights and compensation options, call Cordisco & Saile LLC today at 215-642-2335