The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body for world motorsport (Formula 1, Formula E, Endurance, Rally, Rally Cross and Karting World Championships) and the federation of the world’s leading mobility organisations has announced its partnership with India’s Steelbird, which is one of Asia's largest helmet manufacturers, for its global road safety programme.
The objective of this programme is to provide, with the support of the FIA Member Clubs' worldwide network, high-quality helmets meeting United Nations Regulation 22.05 in those territories which have faced problems with low-quality helmets in their local market.
Under the partnership, Steelbird has committed a production capacity for this programme of 240,000 helmets per year with a total production capacity secured by all the partners of 420,000 helmets per year.
The FIA has been working on this highly ambitious initiative to facilitate the deployment of a motorcycle helmet that meets UN safety standards, that is comfortable in hot and humid climates, and available at a target selling price around $20 (Rs 1,487).
The FIA Safety department, which is normally tasked with developing safety equipment for competitions, has used its expertise to achieve this objective. In markets where the population is largely dependent on two-wheel motorised transport, and where the hot climate and the high purchase price prevent many motorcyclists from wearing a helmet, the FIA Safe and Affordable Helmet Programme will contribute to reducing motorcycle related fatalities. Research shows that helmet wearing is one of the most effective road safety interventions, reducing the number of head injuries among moped riders and motorcyclists by around 44%.
This is the second partnership with a helmet manufacturer as part of the FIA Safe & Affordable Helmet initiative. This project recently received the support of the Keep Fighting Foundation, founded by the family of Michael Schumacher, with a donation of 5,000 helmets.
Jean Todt, FIA President, said: “Wearing a helmet is a key issue in road safety. I am happy to welcome Steelbird as a new partner of our Safe & Affordable Helmet initiative. In view of the many qualities of the Indian manufacturer, I am convinced that this collaboration will contribute to the success of our international initiative. Steelbird is committed to offering high quality helmets at an affordable price which will help in mass adoption of the helmets in those regions of the world where it is more needed."
Rajeev Kapur, MD, Steelbird said: “We are proud of our association with FIA. Moreover, this tie-up also proposes an immense opportunity to step up the safety measures in those areas and zones which remain untouched or low on road safety standards. The territories have been identified by FIA with the objective of increasing the use of helmets while riding two-wheeler without compromising safety. As a brand, we have worked very hard over the years to not only build our distribution network but also to deliver quality and safety to the riders.”
At present, Steelbird has 6 manufacturing facilities with a total production capacity of 22,000 helmets per day.