A helmet petition and helmet laws website have been established in the wake of Queensland accepting international helmet standards and police in two states cracking down on helmet cams.
The change.org petition has been started by Barry Morris who organised Synapse to sponsor the petition to give it some credibility with government. Synapse supports brain injury victims and their families.
The helmet petition calls on state and federal governments to stop the conflict between states over helmet laws and their different interpretations by transport departments and police.
So long as the conflict and disparity exists, innocent riders will be caught out.
As a complement to the petition, rider Wayne Carruthers has started a website which seeks to explain the very complex and confusing state of helmet laws across Australia, the fines and demerit points you could face for an infringement and a plan ti incorporate pro-forma letters for riders to send to police t plead for a waiver of fines.
Wayne helped Barry word the petition which tries to simplify what is a comprehensive issue.
He’s had a long interest in the helmet laws for several reasons including the lucky survival of a friend in a crash because of a proper helmet.
“I have an 88-year-old mate, father of school friends, who is alive today because we implemented AS1698 back in the ’70s and I insisted he buy and wear an approved full-face helmet and full gear while going to work and back from his banana plantation,” Wayne says.
“The family regard me as the man who saved his life. He was riding home and a grader turned right in front of him and he was caught up with the blade. The doctors stated the only reason he survived was the brain was intact and he was not covered in gravel rash which allowed them to work on the real injury of broken pelvis and other internal injuries. “To be honest, I can’t even recall how bad I got on my high horse but do recall looking at a non-approved open-face helmet the local dealer sold him to clear non-approved stock and telling him to take it to the dealer and demand an approved full-face helmet.”
Wayne says he has been “utterly appalled” at the ignorance, mis-information and personal
abuse directed at Australian Motorcycle Council helmet advocate Guy Stanford on internet forums, so wrote the helmet site.
“The problem for Guy is that he has been the only voice trying to explain how disjointed the rules and regulations have become,” he says.
“Guy assisted me with access to his research material to put the web site together, my hat is off to Guy, he deserves an Order of Australia.”
Wayne says he is concerned for travel companies that bring riders in from the UK and Europe who might wear their own helmets, creating legal implications.
“I am appalled at the utterly disgusting way we treat the round-the-world guys who we force to buy a new helmet on entry to Oz,” he says. “These people are high-value tourists who mostly spend money in regional Oz. I had one group of five Norwegians give me their 12 month budget for Oz to include in my submission to ACCC. They spent $20,000 each with 90% going into regional small business pockets, that is tourism the regions are crying out for.
“We as a nation are acting as a bunch of hypocrites, we are founding signatories to the UNECE 1958 agreements and have not ratified helmets. New Zealand joined up late back in 2000-ish and immediately implemented changes to their laws/regs to honour their agreements.”
Wayne has had a win, of sorts, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Council about their lack of action over the states’ poor regulations and fobbing off complaints from Guy and the MRA. He complained that their actions were a restraint of trade.
“They attempted to dismiss my complaint then were forced to accept my complaint was valid and in theory it is still outstanding today,” he says.
“It resulted in a phone call from their head of regulatory and their legal rep in which they admitted that the ACCC had failed to properly administer the regulation and that it was probably illegal to cross state borders with some helmets. The combination of work by everyone resulted in the ACCC review which is still outstanding.”
Wayne hopes to attend a Standards Australia forum in Sydney in February at which helmet standards and laws will be discussed.