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COST 327
Motorcycle Safety Helmets

COST 327 image

Chairman : Mr. Steve Gillingham (UK)
Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions
Vehicle Standards and Engineering Division
Fax: +44 171 271 46 24
Email: (email removed)

Vice-Chairmen : Dr. Dominique Cesari (F)
Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et leur Sécurité - INRETS
Fax: +33 4 72 36 25 65
Email: (email removed)

Dr. Dietmar Otte (DE)
Hannover University, Accident Research Unit
Fax: +49 511 532 57 70

Dr. Bryan Chinn (UK)
Transport Research Laboratory
Fax: +44 134 477 03 56
Email: (email removed)

Scientific Secretary :
European Commission
Directorate General for Energy and Transport
Fax: +32 2 296 37 65
Email: (email removed)


4.5 years; to November 1999.


8 COST Countries: Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and United Kingdom.


Using pan-European experience to determine or modify national approaches, COST 327 has four main objectives:

  • to establish the distribution and severity of injuries experienced by motorcyclists, focusing on the head and neck
  • to determine the most significant injuries and injury mechanisms
  • to establish the tolerance of the human head, brain and neck to these injuries and injury mechanisms
  • to use the overall findings to propose a specification for future testing of motorcycle helmets in Europe.


  • A review, including a suggested way forward, of the current situation in the key European countries with respect to accident data, biomechanical research and the development of mathematical models of the human skull, brain and neck.
  • The collection and documentation of new real life accident data in selected European countries.
  • A report on the suitability of different headforms for simulating different impact conditions.
  • Reconstruction of accident damage to helmet to determine injury mechanisms.
  • Development of a mathematical model of a brain, skull, neck and helmet to simulate impacts and injury mechanisms, and to contribute to the knowledge of human tolerance.
  • A report on the spectrum of tolerances of the human head to injury for the principal injury mechanisms.
  • Development of test procedures to measure the ability of helmets to protect the head and neck.


Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users. Head injuries cause the largest proportion of fatalities to motorcyclists, while about one-quarter of all injured riders suffer head injuries. It is therefore important that we have a good understanding in Europe of the issues involved, in order to make decisions for future developments in this critical safety area.

COST 327 will therefore investigate the causes and mechanisms of head injuries using accident data and mathematical modelling, such that the design of motorcycle helmets can be optimised, particularly with regard to the protection offered to a motorcyclists head and neck.

Benefits to Different Users

By the end of the project, researchers will have developed a better understanding of head and neck injury mechanisms and tolerance levels, and how best to model them and test the protective properties of helmets. This knowledge will be disseminated to manufacturers and legislators so that further significant improvements in helmet design and construction standards can be achieved. Helmets should then offer motorcyclists and other users substantially improved protection, reducing the incidence and severity of head and neck injury in accidents. COST 327 will play an important part in the decision-making process. The following are examples of major input areas:

  • Key input to decision-making:
    • at national and European level in order to determine the most appropriate standards for the design and manufacture of motorcycle helmets
    • in the health service, primarily at national level, on the most appropriate modus operandi for treatment of motorcycle injuries relating to the head and neck
    • on safety issues by manufacturers of motorcycle helmets
  • Development of the most appropriate test criteria and procedures for those organisations involved in this area.
  • Greater protection for motorcyclists as a result of improved helmet standards and design.

Related Activities


Motorcycle Safety Helmets - A Literature Review
Manuscript completed in September 1997
1997 - 146 pp - 21.0 x 29.7 cm

Investigation of Headforms
Manuscript completed in February 1998
1998 - 36 pp - 21.0 x 29.7 cm

Motorcycle Safety Helmet Test Procedures - Interim Report
Manuscript completed in February 1998
1998 - 16 pp - 21.0 x 29.7 cm
Word file for download (192 KB)

Accident Description and Analysis of Motorcycle Safety Helmets - Interim Report
Manuscript completed in May 1998
1998 - 82 pp. - 21.0 x 29.7 cm
Compressed Word file for download (4.488 KB)

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