The Federal Government needs to resolve the issue of states having different interpretations of helmet laws, says an industry spokesman.
Rhys Griffiths, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries motorcycle spokesman, welcomes the recent commitment by the Federal Government to harmonise Australian Design Rules (ADRs) with UN vehicle regulations and hopes it can be extended to helmet laws.
“Harmonisation of these rules with international standards have been around as a mantra of various government departments for a long time but they haven’t always related to action,” he says.
“The thing that is a bit of a game changer is the Federal Government’s desire to cut red tape. We’ve already been the beneficiary of that thinking with the decision to accept international standards on motorcycle rear mudguards.”
However, he says the issue of helmets is a lot more involved with the input of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), state governments and the vested interests of certification authorities.
“It’s all very messy,” he says, adding that Queensland’s recent move to accept international helmet standards has only caused more confusion. The situation is so ridiculous riders can’t travel interstate without running into problems with on-compliant helmets.
“But having said that, both the NSW and Victoria authorities are at the very least asking the ACCC to get their act together.”
He says the helmet ADR does not need to be rescinded.
“We just have to make it acceptable to wear a helmet of a similar or higher standard.”
He says most moves are to accept the European standards, but the FCAI would prefer to also accept Japanese and American. That does not mean an influx of Asian “toy helmets”.
“Having dealt with government authorities, I know that changes to regulations is a slow process and you often get frustrated.
“The riding public is getting very frustrated by the red tape over this issue, but while I can’t say there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is a faint glow in the distance.
“At least now governments are looking for a way out of the mess, but it has to be a federal decision.”