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Shameful trade in fake crash helmets

Online markets are saturated with fake low-quality crash helmets; Motorcycle Action Group calls for urgent change.

Experts have told ITV News that the evidence of a trade in dangerous and counterfeit crash helmets is "shocking" and "a tragedy waiting to happen".

ITV News launched an investigation and found evidence of an illegal market in poor quality imported goods being sold cheaply online.

The findings have led to warnings from police and trading standards, along with calls for more action to halt the unlawful sales.

Online marketplaces offer helmets for as little as a tenth of the usual price with guarantees that they have full safety certification - which they do not.

Shockingly most are counterfeits using the logos of legitimate brands, while others are ultra low-quality imports.

Mark Mayo of the British Standards Institution - the place that literally sets the helmet standard - gives these tips on how to spot a fake.

  • Look out for the helmet's E-number - this shows the product has been safety tested in Europe

  • If there isn't an E-number, don't buy the helmet

  • Use a reputable supplier

  • Look at the helmet yourself, in person, and check it has the right markings

  • Spend an appropriate amount of cash - if it looks cheap, don't buy it

After the BSI tested the low-quality helmets the results were appalling. 

A counterfeit AGV tested at just 30mph literally split in two. Mark Mayo of BSI said: "The helmet split from front to back, the rest of the head is then exposed to further impacts which will just cause even greater injury.

"The results are quite shocking, to think there are people out there with those helmets on thinking they are getting protection is very worrying".

A fake Arai tested at the same speed of 30mph, surprise surprise, split in two… 

"Fatalities will ultimately result from people wearing that helmet and expecting to be protected," said Mayo, "its a potential tragedy waiting to happen".

The worst thing about this illegal trade is that people are using these fake lids on the road! Which is a disaster waiting to happen, because these helmets are about as useful in a crash as a plastic bucket.  

Motorbike officer John Wilton of Devon and Cornwall Police was alarmed to find a biker wearing a counterfeit with a novelty design and invalid safety markings.

He described it as "an abysmal helmet, very cheap - very flimsy".

The officer told ITV News buyers are being misled: "I can appreciate how the wool is pulled over your eyes”. 

The moral of the story then, if a deal is too good to be true, normally it is. Always buy direct from trusted motorcycle outlets, and try before you buy. 

Your head is very important, pay a little bit more and actually protect it. Don’t let these sadistic scammers do you over - in more ways than one. 

Check out the testing here.

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