Should new helmet regulations cause concern?

Talk 'N Shoot action camera app and Bluetooth headset tech regulations

Proposed helmet accessories testing regulations have concerned riders that aftermarket externally fitted Bluetooth intercoms and cameras may be banned.

However, one helmet expert says there is no cause for concern!

The proposed changes are part of the upgrade to United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 22.05 standard which has been accepted for use in Australia since 2016.

The new UN ECE 22.06 proposal also seeks to include testing for head rotation in a crash, visor shatterproof durability and the ability of modular helmets to protect you when the chin bar is in place and when it is open.

Members of the UN Working Party will continue discussions on the ECE 22.06 proposals in June 2020 with two years of research results incorporated before it’s finalised.

This would mean the new regulations would not come into effect in Europe until, at the earliest, 2023.

That will be followed by three years of coexistence with ECE 22.05 rules.

Longtime Australian helmet law advocate Wayne Carruthers says that means they would not affect Aussie riders for about five or six more years.

New helmet regulationsLG Action CAM

The controversial change is that helmets should not be modified from original manufacturer specification, which appears to have serious implications for intercoms and action cameras.

“Accessories must be fitted in accordance with the helmet manufacturer’s instructions,” the proposal says.

“Only accessories approved by the Authority shall be used. In case of any other modification or addition of non-approved accessories (helmet cameras, visors, communication devices, etc.) the helmet homologation becomes invalid.”

The UN ECE did not respond to our call for clarification.

However, the Australian Motorcycle Council has long said that ECE 22.05 only affects the helmet at the point of sale.

They say it should not impact on the owner’s desire to fit accessories, so long as they do not affect the integrity of the helmets.

For example, you shouldn’t drill holes in the helmet to fit them.

However, the new rules seems to suggest that helmets are not allowed to be modified … ever!

Not so, says Wayne.

Wayne Carruthers exhaust helmets stickers regulations harmony
Wayne Carruthers

“Basically the move means helmet manufacturers selling helmets with their own accessories must test them to ensure the helmet with their accessories fitted meets the standard and have approval numbers for the accessories,” he says.

Wayne points out that the phrase “Only accessories approved by the authority shall be used” means aftermarket accessory manufacturers would have to go through an approval process for use on helmets.

“Since comms and camera technology development is moving so fast by the time 22.06 came into force in Europe let alone Australia we would be likely to see standardised inbuilt mounting cavities in helmets for many makes and models of accessories,” he says.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations which is involved in the upgrade process agrees.

Spokesperson Wim Taal says: “The way I read it, this means you will not be allowed to fit accessories that were not tested with the helmet. It is hard to imagine the police checking this.”

Obviously Wim is unfamiliar with Australian police!

8 Comments

  1. Any additional weigh or wind catcher or addition that could catch on the road as you bounce on it is annoying and dangerous. But up to the individual concerned. Apparently even painting a skiddy is illegal. I do think their ability to to ‘save’ someone can be vastly over rated, but then how else do you justify $1k plus price tags. For me if I wanted to mount something it would be to the bike not the lid. As for bluetooth I am happy just listening to the breeze.

  2. Obviously they don’t know the Spanish police forces.. These are constantly fining motorcyclists who have bluetooth intercoms because they argue it prevents riders be aware of what is around them….

  3. By adding additional layers of regulation to the application of accessories to a road helmet under the veil of “helmet safety”, the government have made an extra way to add additional revenue to its treasury through this additional testing from the accessory manufacturers.

    Secondly, it has also increased the negotiating power of helmet manufacturers over companies such as Cardo, Sena, GoPro etc. whenever they would like to integrate their products to their helmets. One could argue– should they fail to accept a possibly unfair contract agreement between an accessory manufacturer and helmet manufacturer, the accessory manufacturer risk their products becoming illegal under the new mandate and are forced to comply.

    Two arguments above can mean that the cost of helmets will dramatically increase as a result to consumers; both to cover the cost of manufacture, additional certification + testing of accessories and profit margins.

  4. It is only a way to justify price increase of basic helmets, that will include all accessories, although not desired by the final owner

  5. I gave my helmet GoPro away to avoid any drama. The obvious GoPro was a definite deterrent to naughty tintop operators, to keep clear
    I’ve considered installing fixed auto record/loop units for my benefit in case of any incidents……. atm I’m reluctant, though I do like the cam gear on gear page.
    Will be a definite consideration with hit one button to delete as you stop, if required.

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