Cyclists, mums threatened by helmet law

Cyclist helmet laws

Mums and cyclists could face fines if the Victorian Police interpretation of motorcycle helmet laws is upheld in a Magistrates Court.

The bizarre turn of events is due to the police interpretation of Australian Standards which, if taken to the letter of the law, would even require motorcyclists to carry a book of instructions on the use and care of their helmet at all times.

Bell Helmet - internet shopping
Carry your user guide at all times

This ridiculous situation has been pointed out by Australian Motorcycle Council helmets committee chair Guy Stanford who says parents would also have to carry child restraint instructions and ensure the restraint labels didn’t wear out from use.

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He also says cyclists would be banned from having zip-ties to ward off magpie attacks and would also have to carry a helmet instruction booklet.

Helmet rules have come to the public’s attention after a recent blitz on helmet compliancy by NSW police, specifically targeting riders with helmet cameras, fines for riders with “non-compliant” tinted visors, as well as a test case in the Frankston Magistrates Court in Victoria over a rider being fined for wearing a helmet cam.

“Bicycle riders and users of child restraints will suffer the same interpretation if the matter currently before the Victorian court results in a successful prosecution,” Guy says. “That is, failure of their kit to continuously comply with the appropriate standard.”

Clause 9 of the Australian Standard requires the helmet to be accompanied by a brochure or label of “Instructions for Use and Care” which is additional to the label required to be inside the helmet. 

“In other words, if you are not carrying the Instructions for use and care, your helmet is non-compliant,” he says.

The same goes with cyclists’ helmets and child restraints.

Child restraints caught out by helmet laws
Make sure the label doesn’t wear out

If the helmet cam case verdict goes in favour of the police, mums and dads will be liable for non-compliance fines if the labels or markings have become illegible from repeated cleaning or are missing; if the instruction booklet is not in the pocket provided on the child restraint; and a swing ticket or label “buyers advice” is not attached to the child restraint.

In the case of cyclists, they could expect their helmet to be “un-approved” if it has zip-ties greater than 5mm long; has a red flashing taillight or clear headlight fitted; is embellished with silly hats; if the rider does not have the instruction booklet for use and care; or if it is fitted with a camera.

Yet Queensland Police Minister Jack Dempsey has actually advised cyclists to fit cameras to their helmets to collect evidence of road range.

6 Comments

  1. IMHO the People that place Zip ties on their Cycle helmets in an attempt to mitigate Magpies are idiots, WHY well I grew up in a high Maggie population area well before helmets were even thought of and the best defence was ignore them, YES ignore them because as soon as you flinch they KNOW they have the upper hand . As for the Helmet modification rules , the addition if zip ties not only looks daggy but could potentially cause an eye injury to the wearer or other’s.
    The rules regarding modification or accessories being fitted is some what contrite though ,
    Wah too many people have NFI what many rules are and IMHO neither do the police especially when it comes to the various legislations in force that relate to various rules.

  2. Australian standards is just what the government says how to make something their way, it is not the best way, thats why prices go up all the time with a standards label as some company has to try to think like a public servant who has no idea.

  3. I find it fascinating how the Victorian State Government/Police force make selective use of the Australian Standards to suit their own agenda. In the case of motorcycle helmets they take an extremely pedantic interpretation to the very letter of the standard (which none of us know or have access to) to book riders for camera attachments and tinted visors, yet they ignore the standards regarding automotive speedos. I believe manufacturers can have an error of up to 10% + or – on speedo readings yet fines are issued when speed is exceeded by only 3%. When is a standard a standard and why aren’t the expectations clearly delineated in the relevant laws and made widely and freely know to the public, especially motorcycle riders?

  4. THIS is ABSOLUTE BULL. Really, Zip ties on a helmet?!?!?
    Time for the authority concerned with the regulation aspects of helmets pull their heads out of their you know what and be sensible about it. A Go Pro on a helmet does NOT modify the helmet. It will break off quite readily if an accident occurs. AND don’t get me started on zip ties.

  5. If the Magistrate rules in favour of the police the riders and others might consider an appeal. If its not already being run by SMIDSY lawyers then perhaps by approaching JusticeConnect http://www.justiceconnect.org.au/ for assistance with that appeal.
    They are a public interest law centre like PILCH in NSW. There is hopefully sufficient public interest in this issue to get them to run an appeal on behalf of all Victorian riders.

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