Riders can’t buy approved helmets

VLAD laws

Riders in Queensland will soon be able to wear internationally approved helmets, but they won’t be able to buy them from their favourite bike shop. And that could have serious safety implications.

In February, the Queensland Governor is expected to sign new laws which include axing the rules around Australian standards for helmets and permitting helmets with European, US and Japanese safety standards or any other helmet that adheres to United Nations standards.


However, Queensland retailers will still be bound by federal laws which only allow them to sell Australian-approved helmets.

Helmet laws
Australian Standard sticker

That will leave Queensland riders to buy international-standard helmets over the internet or when overseas on holidays.

Australian Motorcycle Council helmets committee chair Guy Stanford confirms the anomaly.

“The mandatory standards prevent the sale of any helmet other than that defined by the commonwealth legislative instrument, consumer protection notice number 9 of 1990,” he says.

So if riders can’t buy the helmets from their favourite shop where they can try the helmet on for size, they will be forced to buy over the internet, which can be a safety issue, says Guy.

“Never buy a helmet you haven’t worn on your head,” he says.

Helmet laws
USA DOT standard

“The strongest safety message I can give anyone is to buy a helmet that fits your head properly and you can’t do that over the web.”

Queensland retailers will either have to run the gauntlet of the law by importing and selling international standard helmets or wait for a resolution to this conundrum.

“Queensland helmet retailers can’t do a damn thing at this stage,” Guy says.

Resolution could be forthcoming with a couple of forums coming up in the New Year to discuss helmet laws although change in government laws notoriously moves at glacial pace.

Meanwhile, riders are being deprived of new and safe helmets as some international brands are waiting to see if the Australian standards change before entering this market, including brands such as Suomy, Touratech and the world’s first head-up display helmet from American company, Skully.

At the moment, it is not economically viable for manufacturers of niche helmets to gain expensive Australian certification for their helmets. It was one of the hold-ups on the reintroduction of the famous Bell brand for several years.

Meanwhile, Queensland riders who buy international-standard helmets will also run the risk of a fine for wearing a non-compliant helmet if they venture interstate.

You would hope police would be a bit lenient in these times of legal uncertainty … wouldn’t you!


  1. I bought a helmet from the USA. It is the same as the Approved helmet available in Australia minus the Aust standards sticker. Can anyone possibly believe that the helmet is fully safety tested in Australia prior to sale? The only testing done is in R & D at the factory, & once all safety parameters are met, they are offered for sale to the world markets. The Australia approved stickers only relate to the approved glue used for the sticker!

  2. The laws are an arse, I had a helmet exemption in WA which meant zip in every other state. Threat of being lock up and fined every time I rode with out a helmet, which was legal in the state of WA but not recognised in the others is beyond me. I had nothing but troubles trying to change my WA licence over to Qld (for work, otherwise I would of kept the WA one) when I shift over there in 2005, until I revoked my helmet exemption. So how do you expect the states to get their act together over the new helmet laws? Have one set of national road laws governing all simply dissolve the state governments and just force them into the councils there by getting rid of one set of leeches. and less taxes to support them!

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