Riders run the risk of a fine if they remove the helmet visor protective film under the controversial ruling last week by a Victorian Magistrate, says a helmet law expert.
Australian Motorcycle Council helmet chairman Guy Stanford says the verdict to uphold a fine against a motorcyclist for wearing a helmet camera also has bizarre implications for motorcyclists, cyclists and even mums with babies in their cars.
“The Victorian decision was on the basis that ‘approved’ means ‘compliant’,” he says.
“That means none of the labels may be removed, not even those on the protective film across the visor. The same applies to bicycle helmets and also to child restraints.”
He says the Magistrate’s verdict that the helmet must continue to comply after sale means all of these products approved by Australian Standards must continue to comply with the same requirements as when offered for sale.
Not all states have the same interpretation of the standards, but Guy describes the Victorian situation as “idiocy”.
According to the Victorian Ruling, Guys says the literal wording for the child restraint standard means you would have to put a child in a restraint then put the child restraint and the child into a single package.
“I guess that we will see the Victorian coppers lining up at day-care centres and schools,” he says.
“More tickets to write there in one spot than spending hours rounding up isolated riders. They must be rubbing their hands with glee!”
He says cyclists will also have similar problems to motorcyclists after the verdict.
“No more anti-magpie zip-ties, no more lights or cameras on helmets. It’ll be a State Revenue windfall.
“The Victorian Parliament appears happy to allow an unelected legislature in the form of a committee at Standards Australia to write law for Victoria.
“VicRoads, through privately owned stickers, gives regulatory protection to these products. It’s a great arrangement for profits all round.
“We’re forced to comply with the sales requirements of a private document of a private company or get expensive fines and loss of license points.
“Who is actually running Victoria? All we see is policed market control that costs us money and removes choices.”
The defendant in the Victorian case is yet to decide whether he will appeal the decision, but the Independent Riders Group has pledged financial and moral support if he does.
Meanwhile, he says the NSW Roads and Maritime Services is testing helmets to see if there is any increased injury risk from a mounted camera.
“They have done a fair bit and we know the generalities, but no results have been made public,” Guy says.
“With the current Victorian idiocy, they are keeping quiet. So would I.”