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Riding with original DR Helmet?


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Unlikely... according to gov.uk:

All helmets worn on UK roads must meet one of the following:

  • British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI Kitemark
  • UNECE Regulation 22.05
  • a European Economic Area member standard offering at least the same safety and protection as BS 6658:1985, and carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark
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Many years ago when this question was raised back then. Steve Madden (Police officer and co author of British Forces Motorcycles) answered that in his opinion, as they were built for purpose and pre dated any new laws, that "grandfather rites" prevail.  I've never heard of anyone being pulled over and I doubt most cops would have enough knowledge on the subject to argue the case at the roadside.........Plus it's important that as motorcyclists, we have to brake at least one law a day😜 Ron 

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An acquaintence of mine was pulled a couple of years ago for wearing his DR helmet.  He went through the 'grandfathers rights' stuff with the Officer but was left in no uncertain doubt that he was breaking the current law - and that as far as the Officer was concerned was the end of the matter, current law.  However, he didn't give him a ticket, just told him to make sure he wasn't caught using it again.  I make no stance on this at all, except that I would always follow every written law that is published LOL.

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That cop must have had a boring day I guess. See any large gathering of motorcycles that includes Classic Bikes, scooters and Harley's and just look at the amount of pudding basin, scull caps, Chips and German helmets are worn. I'm trying to image a Hells Angel with a full face helmet. 😄 Ron

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I have never been stopped wearing one - and that included when a policeman was checking through the string of riders on a War & Peace hideout.  Mind you, on that occasion, a couple of blokes were sporting battle bowlers and that got the law's attention!  They DR helmets also "passed" scrutiny for riding on the Goodwood track.......although some coercion may have been involved (anybody experienced Ron breathing down your neck?!).  On the other hand its probably not good to ponder on the performance of a DR helmet in a T-bone or similar.  You pays your money and you takes your chance.  So I would not criticise anyone for wearing a modern open face helmet (full face looks a bit naff).

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The steel motorcyclists helmets were not legal for use when helmets were first made compulsory. There was an insistence on British Standards approval. Some time later, the EU insisted that helmets legal for sale in any European country should be acceptable (there was no UNECE regulation at that time) and somehow or other they introduced a vague wording which stated 'designed for use as a motorcycle helmet' and many took this to mean that pre-BS helmets were also legal which couldn't have been the intention at all.

Things have now clearly been tightened up,  but the gov.uk site tries to give the impression that only BS6658 is now acceptable..try as I might though I can find no trace of legislation which outlaws earlier British Standards and it would be unusual for it to be retrospective.

I did find this on line...

Helmet standards
You must wear a helmet which has been approved to one of the British
Standards listed below, or to UNECE Regulation 22.05.

British Standard No
2001:1956 may be worn only

1869:1960 may be worn only

2495:1960 may be worn only

2001:1972 may be worn only

5361:1976 may be worn only

2495:1977 may be worn only

6658:1985 may be sold and worn

Alternatively, you can wear other types of helmet which could reasonably be
expected to give a similar, or greater, level of protection in an accident as
British Standard 6658:1985 or UN ECE Regulation 22.05

To my mind, unless you're able to argue that the steel helmet gives a similar or greater level of protection, you're probably on dodgy ground.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I still use my 1940 fibre DR helmet, as they are much lower in weight than the steel ones, never been pulled over for wearing it though.

Another matter I recently heard, and never knew, is that in France, when riding a motorcycle, you MUST wear gloves with a certain approval lable, not sure about the details, but in France many strange laws exist, and are not enforced.




Edited by welbike
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I am sure for "direct impact" that is correct - or at least, that is effectively what the helmet standard requires, but for anything other than direct full on impact - which is obviously much more likely, then modern full face helmets will in general of course provide far better protection than a WW2 DR helmet.  Just look at how the DR helmets are attached to your head - pathetic leather strap that will either break or slice your jugular!  I know a couple of riders who ride to events - quite a long way - and they have a modern helmet for that purpose and swap to DR for display riding.  But its up to the individual of course.

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