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.
“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.
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.
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.)