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.
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.
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.
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.