If you’re a touring motorcyclist, like most RoadRUNNER readers, it might be hard to imagine a road trip without a communication system. These little magic devices allow us to wirelessly listen to navigation instructions, speed and traffic warnings, or music. We can connect with a pillion rider or mesh with other group members. Helmet communicators used to be just nice things to have, but these days they have become must-have accessories that contribute to the ride experience and safety.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standard sets a pretty low bar for helmets, but in Europe the standards are much higher with a constant drive for increased safety. The Economics Commision for Europe (ECE), has created the new ECE 22.06 standard, which was accepted by most European Union (EU) nations.
Under the ECE 22.06 standard’s original submission, helmets would have to be tested with accessories installed in order to assess any safety risk that could be attributed to the accessory, both as a physical device but also due to it having a battery. Later, this somewhat draconian regulation was softened after strong pressure from manufacturers to allow helmets and communicators to be tested separately—similarly to how cars and child car seats don’t have to be tested together.