Helmet forum may clear up issues

Shoei Hornet ADV adventure helmet

Riders are still in the dark on several helmet issues including tinted visors, labels, stickers and attachments, so Standards Australia has organised a second invitation-only forum on May 18 to discuss various issues that may settle some of this confusion.

The first forum was held early last year to discuss hemet standards, certification and regulation.

Since then the ACCC has allowed the sale of European helmets and all states and territories have moved to allow helmets that comply with UN/ECE 22-05.

The new forum has invited the same key stakeholders – motorcycle industry and rider representatives, media (including Motorbike Writer), government departments and helmet certification/testing agencies.

If you believe you should be on the guest list, contact National Sector Manager Alison Scotland.

The follow-up forum will discuss whether an Australian Standard is still needed and, if yes, “scoping considerations for a revision project”.

It is expected that those with vested financial interests in continuing Australian testing and certification will try to resist dropping the standard.

Longtime helmet campaigner Wayne Carruthers says the vested interests in onshore compliance testing should have no role in the Standards Australia forum.

He says they dominated the question and answer session at the February 2015 forum, preventing the motorcyclists from presenting their positions.

Whether the standard is dropped or not, it seems mortars are already bringing in European helmets without having to have them re-tested here which should mean cheaper helmet for riders.

In fact, the 2016 range of Shoei helmets, including the new Hornet adventure and X-Spirit III, will not be Australian approved, but feature UN/ECE 22-05 stickers and/or labels.

Shoei X-Spirit III
Shoei X-Spirit III

The forum agenda will also discuss other international helmet standards (perhaps an extension to other international standards such as DOT, BIS or Snell) and topics of rider and industry concern such as “mountings, requirements to carry brochures at all times, visors and tinting”.

Rider groups will no doubt push the forum to discuss policing and regulation of the standards and to consider these ancillary issues that concern riders and have been the subject of fines.

Wayne says the main issue for riders has been “the improper attempts by at least some police to enforce the standard as an “in use” regulation in a manner which is not done for any other safety related vehicle equipment which is certified by manufacturers to be compliant at the point of sale only”.

In other words, police are incorrectly, prejudicially and provocatively interpreting the helmet regulations to fine riders as a form of harassment.

4 Comments

  1. With every change, no matter what that change is or refers to, there are winners and losers. With the change to recognition of European standards (UN/ECE 22-05) for helmets, the winners are the importers, retailers and of course the end user. The loser is the on-shore compliance testing monopoly that has controlled the availability of absolutely safe helmets for many, many years.

    Mid last century the on-shore testing may have been required but certainly now with current technology, current light weight materials and ergonomic safety designs, there is no longer a need to have our own compliance testing unless we are manufacturing helmets.

    With the tyranny of distance and communication no longer existent, the world having been reduced one global community in theory, the requirement for additional compliance testing is no longer viable or more importantly desirable.

    Purchasing, and in-turn using a genuine high quality helmet from a well known manufacturer with the appropriate approvals should now be an easy, simple process.

    “The forum agenda will also discuss other international helmet standards (perhaps an extension to other international standards such as DOT, BIS or Snell) and topics of rider and industry concern such as “mountings, requirements to carry brochures at all times, visors and tinting”.”

    This already should have been discussed and moved in a positive direction. Are these other international standards, truelove international or just local? Why should motorcyclist carry a brochure when other end users of other certified products are not required? Archaic. If the visor (tinted or un-tinted) is fitted to the helmet at manufacture and sold as one unit, then it should suffice.

    Rules and regulations need to universally simplified, not made more complicated. Australia is supposed to have nation-wide traffic rules and regulations. Helmet compliance should be the same. The winners will always applaud and cheer the beneficial changes, but the losers will not.

    The losers need to adapt and adopt change management to survive. It is always disappointing to see any industry fold due to change, but change is always there no matter what you do. No doubt there will be job loses, in reality should the Australian motorcycle rider be held to ransom by a self-interested group? No, of course not.

    Motorcyclists now have a vast array of quality clothing manufactured from vastly different materials to chose from to suit their riding needs. The same has to be with helmets.

    1. There is still a need for testing but only to ensure compliance with standards and to prevent fakes from becoming prominent so the testing houses will still have plenty of work just not the guaranteed income they used to have

  2. While I don’t want to poke the bear on this issue I feel it may be helpful that I say this, cars can become defective and need to be removed from the road for the safety of the driver and others. Helmets can also become defective but it is only the rider who is effected and only in an accident. The standards applied to helmets are there to ensure a rider purchases a safe helmet and the fines are there so the nannying state doesn’t have to pay for the upkeep of a lot of veggies who didn’t wear a helmet, unless someone does something that will clearly render a helmet defective the police should not have the power to harass motorcyclists on the off chance that they may have rendered their helmet defective as there is no comparable danger to the public as there is with a vehicle.
    So the police should be told in no uncertain terms that unless they see steel spikes or blades protruding from a helmet they are to leave it alone.

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