What to do if you cop a helmet fine

Motul motorcycle helmet cleaner - tinted visor fine

If the cops want to fine you for a non-compliant helmet, ask them to throw the book at you, says a motorcycle industry advocate!

Without a hint of irony, Australian Motorcycle Council helmets committee chair Guy Stanford suggests that if the cops want to fine you for wearing a helmet camera, having a tinted visor or having a helmet that doesn’t have the right sticker for that state, ask also to be fined for not having the instruction booklet with you.


Guy says the Standards Australia rules are so confounding that there is not one compliant helmet in Australia.

Shark Explore-R motorcycle helmet
Shark Explore-R comes with tinted goggles and internal visor

“My suggestion is if you are stopped by police for say having a tinted visor, ask them to also book you under Clause 9 for not having the ‘use and care’ instruction booklet with you,” Guy says.

“Instead of resisting, ask to be booked for everything. Ask for the lot.

“That means that when it goes to court, you have raised all these other issues. This matter has to be made to look as ridiculous as it is.

“Besides, the copper might just lose his nerve and let you go.”

He says recent reports of riders being fined in Victoria for having a non-compliant helmet because of a tinted visor is another example of the stupidity of the current laws.

Shoe helmet fine
The “offending” ad

He points out that the laws are so confounding even the distributors aren’t aware of them. He cites a Shoei magazine advertisement which shows a helmet fitted with a tinted visor and at the bottom of the ad are the words: “Only trust Genuine Australian Standards ‘AS1698 approved’ helmets”.

However, Guy says the helmet shown is certified to a different standard (AS/NZS 1698) than the advert suggests and the tinted visor is not in compliance with either of AS 1698 or AS/NZS 1698.

“Even the distributors appear ignorant of consumer law,” he says.

The standard says visors have to meet three basic requirements: its optical quality must have no distortion; it has to be strong enough to withstand an impact test with ball bearings; and the visible light transmitted (VLT) must be a maximum of 50%.

He says tinted visors aren’t measured and most would have a VLT of between 8-20% which is too dark by the standard.

Nolan helmet with internal sun visor fine
Nolan helmet with internal sun visor

However, he says any helmet with an internal sun visor, such as Bell, Nolan and Shark, would be illegal and should never have been certified under the strict conditions of the standards.

He says internal sun visors don’t necessarily meet any of the three basic requirements.

“Yet you can ride along with the clear visor open and the dark visor down,” he says.

“I’d put that helmet in the hands of the coppers and see what they’ve got to say about that.

“Either the certification company is performing a fraud and interpreted the standard for commercial reasons or it is not compliant, according to the police,” he says.

He also asked what interpretation the police would have of fog visor inserts that have a slight tint.

(MotorbikeWriter doesn’t give legal advice. Seek that from a solicitor or read this article. Be aware that if you antagonise police they may find extra offences to fine you for.)


  1. But we can wear black tinted sunglasses under our helmets HEY !!
    Anyway your Motor Bike Jacket can have safety red white blue LED Strobes hey LOL

  2. The simple thing here that the MRAQ is missing is this. It was the “intention of the legislators” to have riders wear any AS1698 helmet that is in good condition and properly fitted and the strap securely fastened. Everything else is rhetoric and a pointless pedantic argument that does not lend itself towards a solution. The MRAQ approach will only end up with further constraints like year of manufacture or the like and they will scream like stuck pigs that the government didn’t consult them. If they do not want this then they will work towards a simple interpretation of the “intention of the legislators” as suggested above. This letter could then be place on the TMR website and linked and shared until “the cows come home”. If the interpretation is so contentious that the Police might not know the existence of a letter then downloading it and carrying it will let that be addressed in a timely manner. The MRAQ comment “naively believing that the existence of a clarification letter means that all police now know the intended reading is unfortunately fanciful” would equally apply to any solution in the short term. The advocacy groups have been sitting on the pot for too long. It’s time to “shit or get off the pot”.

    1. David
      I notice that you have not answered the points raised about the other possible breaches only sort to attack the messenger as usual.
      Not a very balanced response or one that addresses the issues.
      The actions that the representative bodies have been taking are available for all to see via their websites and other media forms and includes considerable Government consultation. I doubt that you or Jude(David’s partner for those that don’t know) can claim the same or point to any worthwhile input which has achieved any result that is representative of the views of the broad majority of rider. One really only has to follow your trail of disastrous posts and comments to realise that you are substantially out of step with the main stream.
      It’s a pity that you do not put your efforts into working for the majority but that is what hatred will do to you when you let it take control of your actions.

      1. The MRAQ ‘prez’ continues his MO of attacking anyone who raises their voice as a volunteer for motorcycling and is very quick to condemn the input by others outside his club circle. Yet no one of the public is privy to his name, the qualifications he holds for this role, or his educational / work background that would support his contention that he is such an expert in this arena. We are left to submit to “don’t you worry about that” statements as per the bad old days of Joe Bjeilke.
        The only hatred I see is in these posts are by you Mr Prez.

        Tying the road rules up in ultra precise language will only reduce the possibilities for anyone to fight a TIN. The magistrate would be forced to follow the letter of the law and mitigating / extenuating circumstances, or doubt, could play no part. This is exactly what the protesters against the anti-association laws are in an uproar about and here the MRAQ Prez wants more of those types of laws.
        Freedom goes out the window for all – for those charged, for those enforcing, and for those judging. Be careful what you wish for.

        You, sir, are guilty of ego-driven advocacy where the big win is all about you and ordinary riders get left out of the picture entirely.


      2. As usual you miss the point MRAQ President. The issues will not be addressed by your convoluted rhetoric. It must be broken down to simple points that follow the flow of more plausible, more plausible beyond reasonable doubt, argument that could or would be presented to the judiciary. This dribble of hatred is without basis. Simply put up or SHUT UP, DO YOU UNDERSTAND. The ineptitude of the current MRAQ executive would suggest that they are following the “Baffsky Blunders” approach which was considered ill advised by Potts Lawyers. Perhaps the MRAQ considers Potts Lawyers to be full of hatred. I have put my efforts into working for the majority and it is the minority that the MRAQ actually represent. The Police know their affiliations and associations so as a force for change they have neither credibility or the reasonable argument to present a case.

        1. Thank you David and Stirlo(Judith) for you perfectly expected responses. Did you do them from the same computer or do you have one each in adjoining rooms?
          The truth of your position will now be abundantly clear in the hatred driven statements above and for adding in items that have nothing to do with the topic under discussion here.
          All will now be able to understand why you were expelled from the organisation and have been banned from input on multiple other sites.
          For those that are really interested in the advancement of motorcycle issues an open invitation is made to attend meetings of the association and to join so as to have their voice heard by those that count.
          Oh, by the way my qualification to perform in the role as president on the association is that I am a motorcycle rider just as the name of the association suggests. Of course that and the vote of the associations members are the only requirement necessary and certainly not the approval of a venomous banded ex-member.

          1. This is what happens when the process becomes more important than the
            issue ,multiply this bickering amongst every state bureaucrat cop politician
            and every petty little clerk its no wonder we motorcyclists end up getting shafted
            between them the states, legislators, police , manufacturers and retailers should
            have come up with something better than this shitfight.
            This is pretty basic, new car owners do not have to check if things like air bags
            and seat belts comply.
            In fact how many child restraint are checked by our law enforcement officers?
            My guess would be zero
            Which would bring the question What is this really about?
            Is it really about road safety or just another form of harassnment?
            When was the last time you heard of a family having to sit on the side
            of the road to wait for another car carrying a compliant and legally fitted
            kids seat?

  3. To the MRAQ President … If there are indeed NSW Learners who are still being fined by QPS for ‘riding unaccompanied’ then blame also must rest firmly upon your shoulders due to the dereliction of your association in not publishing information that was provided to you quite some time ago and for not taking the matter up further with the QPS.

    The NSW and Qld transport administrations have already taken steps to instruct their service centres on advising learners. Furthermore course providers have also received information.
    What has the MRAQ done? apparently nothing.

    If people who receive traffic infringements are unsure what their rights are then they can always access legal advice. The process to dispute a simple TIN is not difficult nor particularly onerous. Ignorance of the process is a poor excuse.

    1. I’d say access to legal advise isn’t so free, nor is fighting issues in court. A 300$ fine could be closer to the 500$ mark to fight (likely more). I Just fought a ticket and had to pay for video, and other info(GIPA * 30$/hour). I then had to pay for other paper work; add to that lawyer fees and time off work and it would have been cheeper just to pay the fine. Not “particularly difficult” is perhaps a bit of a simplification. I now know the process well enough, and easy it was not.

  4. Old helmets, i understand that helmets no longer comply after after 5 years
    Is this true? if it is it explains discounting of nos at dealers
    But you might ask why if they have to put a use by date on the outside of a 3 buck carton
    of milk, you have to hunt for a manufacturing date on the inside of a helmet that could
    be worth a thousand dollars. Why is it not both on the outside of the helmet and box
    plus explained by the retailer?
    If helmets really are dangerous after 5 years, some retailers have not only been ripping
    off their customers, but putting lives at risk.

    1. Pete: It is a lie/misinformation that helmets no longer comply after 5 years of age. There is NO rule about this. There is simply a manufacturer recommendation and a roads authority recommendation, to replace a helmet after 5 years OF USING IT in order to help prevent the use of helmets that are worn out from many years OF USE. Sitting on a shelf doesn’t hurt a helmet. You can legally ride with a helmet 20 years old if you like.

  5. Guy says “… the tinted visor is not in compliance with either of AS 1698 or AS/NZS 1698” – someone might want to do some homework. The standard for visors is AS 1609-1981: Eye protectors for motor cyclists and racing car drivers, 1698 covers the helmet. Guy might like to check page 25 of the NSW Motorcycle Riders Handbook, page 20 of the Victorian Rider Handbook, or page 11 of the Queensland version. NO WONDER government departments don’t take us seriously when our so called action groups can’t get their facts right!!!

    1. Steve
      The visor standard is 1609 but it also forms part of 1698 because it is referenced in this Standard and hence if the visor does not meet 1609 it also means that 1698 is breached so the comment not being compliant with 1698 is correct and hence why the rider was infringed for not wearing an approved helmet. There is not rule specific to the visor, only to the helmet which includes the visor because of the Standards reference.

  6. Can I ask if the tinted visor riders was/were fined during the day or evening / night?
    Was it a compliant factory visor? AS approved?
    Is this only happening in specific states?
    Was the rider wearing the visor down or up, indeed does this make a difference?
    Do you think this is more about newer high quality speed or toll camera’s and rider identification?
    I would like more information before lobbying and commenting.
    I have a Shoei Multitec and have both clear and tinted visor. The tinted visor states “if tinted, for daytime use only” If caught out in the evening I will ride with sunglasses but with the visor in the “up” position. I try to carry around a set of clear safety glasses if I know the ride may be finishing around sunset. If riding at night I fit the clear visor. I have a camera fitted to my bicycle helmet and was thinking of putting it on the side of my Shoei here in QLD, because its important to have the view the same as your eyes, if fitted to the bike you need a front and rearward facing camera. My BMW has a car cam and it has caught two incidents and is invaluable!
    I think I will wait now before fitting any to my motorbike.

    1. I can’t possibly answer all those questions, but hopefully some people who have been fined might chime in.
      However, I have yet to hear of anyone being fined for having a tinted visor at night!
      No tinted visor is compliant unless it is already fitted to the helmet usually an internal visor, although how they can be approved is beyond me.
      It’s not about whether you have the visor on or closed. If a tinted visor is fitted, that apparently makes the helmet non-compliant.
      There has been no record of a fine in Qld for a helmet cam or tinted visor.
      Hope that helps.

  7. In Queensland and I imagine most other states the police enforce the law but the Department of Transport owns TORUM and any other regulations relating to road use.
    I think it would be very worthwhile to pose all these questions to the Minister and/or Director General. Until a few months ago I worked in the traffic management arena and was occasionally asked to comment on existing or proposed regulations and it constantly astounded me how little the very senior people in the department knew about what existed in TORUM. Without being derogritory to Traffic Police they often lack the knowledge behind the intent of regulations and this hinders their ability to interpret the regulations as the originators intended.
    In short all these concerns need to be addressed with DTMR in Queensland, not the police.

    1. Ray
      You are absolutely correct on all counts.
      The Ministers and the Departments seem to have not got their heads around a whole lot of these issues and the police will interpret the law in whatever way they like because there is no intent stated in the law.
      All state motorcyclist representative bodies have, on innumerable occasions, contacted their particular Ministers and Departments but to date, even though some have acknowledged the problem, none have actually acted to correct the situation.
      What is needed is concerted effort not only by the rep. bodies but by all those that can justifiably see that the law is currently an ass. It is badly written and open to misuse as well as misinterpretation of the initial intent.
      Additionally there seems to be , as usual, a constant figure pointing at others as the initiator of the problem.

      As the article states, if particular sections of the Standard are going to be used against riders for what can really only be viewed as revenue raising then why aren’t all and hence why are people not being booked for breaches against clause 9 of the standard which requires the inclusion of use and care instructions with the helmet. That this is not being enforced at all like other “breaches” that are being infringed makes you realise they are being very selective with the hope that people will not twig to the injustice.

      It’s time for this whole mess to get sorted and it should not take a lot of effort, only a real desire to fix it and fix it correctly. If something as simple as making a law that has the intent of having riders use a safe helmet in a safe manner is so hard I wonder how we are going to address some of the real problems confronting us.

        1. Mark the MRAQ President has got it only half right. The process is as follows:-

          1. Parliament through legislation make the laws.
          2. Police enforce the laws and take appropriate action if they believe there is an offence.
          3. The Police interpretation may be challenged and the matter determined by the judiciary.

          When before the Courts the argument of “intention of the legislators” should be put. For it is this plausible argument that the judiciary must weigh up concerning the “intention of the legislators”. The judiciary can also make their own interpretation regardless of the case put by either side. The result is known a “case law” and sets a precedent. But this precedent does not preclude further offences that appear identical if it can be argued that they are in fact substantially different.

          Now the matter of the “intention of the legislators” can be pre-empted where some consider the legislation to be “badly worded”. The current approach by the advocacy groups is to attack the Departments responsible and demand clearer wording. Instead of this they should consider securing an interpretation from the Minister and this was recently done by a private individual concerning “NSW learners riding into Qld”. This letter has stopped the issue of offences which, as pointed out, some people may just pay. If you want further details you have my email.

          1. Thank you David for pointing out the legal process for electing to have a matter heard before a court if a person believes that an infringement notice is incorrect.
            This information however does not cover such instance as a person not knowing that the notice is incorrect or wrongly believes that the issuing office must be correct just because he is the police and would not make a mistake. It also does not address the issue of the burden in personal cost and to the public purse brought about by a person having to defend a matter.
            These costs, can of course, be substantially reduced by more clearly and concisely wording laws so that the potential for misunderstanding or misuse is substantially reduced.
            Additionally your assertion that the existence of a letter from the QTMR stating the position on NSW learners in QLD is unfortunately incorrect as NSW learners are still being wrongly infringed and are either just paying the fine or having to fight for reversal of the notice. Naively believing that the existence of a clarification letter means that all police now know the intended reading is unfortunately fanciful. If laws are better written and revised speedily when a problem is identified there would be no need for clarification letters from the Department.
            Additionally your response does not address the point that if one or any part of a breach of the Standard is going to be used as a point to issue an infringement notice then why are not all clauses of the Standard treated with such regard. If the law is the law then even an unreasonable reading of it must surely be applied evenly and hence the lack of compliance with clause 9 of the Standard must provide reason for the issuing of a “fail to wear approved helmet” infringement notice.
            Additionally consider the situation of having used a helmet for some time(with some not long) and the inner lining and padding forming to the wearers head. It may not now fit the test form correctly as noted in the Standard. Does this also mean that the helmet is not approved? It should do by extension of some of the beaches that are being handed out and statements that are being issued in support of the helmet blitzes.

          2. Good point about old helmets.
            I hate to throw in another issue, but perhaps there should be age limits placed on helmets. Surely old helmets are far more dangerous than a helmet with a tinted visor or GoPro attached. In the US, I notice that some helmets have a stickers for the date of construction. That would give riders an idea of how long the helmet has been sitting on the bike store’s shelf.

      1. The intent of the law is obvious and needs no further interpretation. The law is also quite clear in what a rider’s obligations are ie to wear a helmet that complies with the designated standards. The confusion only exists in the minds of those advocacy groups who seem incapable of understanding the difference between complying with consumer laws and obeying road rules. I would also remark that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
        The only ass I can see in this situation is Mr Stanford who would suggest that riders ask a police officer to ‘throw the book at them’ with no suggestion as to how a rider would present such a case in court. The dereliction in that advise is astounding.

        1. Jude, Mr Stanford is merely showing some respect for the intelligence of his fellow riders, in assuming that they are capable of picking that ball up and running with it. Perhaps you could do us the same favour.

          1. Murray, I think the only balls being played with here are in Mr Stanford’s court 😉 If these fines are so common then why hasn’t he personally led the way and shown us all how to run such a court case by his own example? Instead he encourages others to take the risk and no doubt will shrug, then walk away, when they lose. I would suggest you respect the intelligence of riders in that they are not so stupid as to take his ridiculous advise.

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