“Asking a police officer at the local cop shop hasn’t shed any light. He was just guessing at the answer and gave the safe answer of ‘no’ but to ask VicRoads,” he says.
“I’m trying to find out if it is a clear cut black and white NO to sticking anything to your helmet, or if it’s still open to interpretation depending on the policeman or under review for clarification.
“If it’s still a grey area, then I am prepared to risk a fine and increase my safety by testing the unit.”
Illegal in some states
Our understanding is that Victorian and South Australian police still believe it is illegal to attach anything to a helmet by any means, while NSW Police have held off issuing fines until Australian helmet rules are homogenised across all states.
That could take some time.
Meanwhile, Raphael and other supporters of this safety device to avoid being rear-ended are in a legal abyss.
The device is similar to the Smart Brake Light that we sell on our website because we believe it is a key safety feature.
However, that does not affect the compliance of helmets.
We asked police and relevant departments in all states for their advice on whether Raphael would be fined for wearing the helmet.
A few replied and none was particularly certain.
Queensland Police HQ flat out refused to give legal advice. That’s strange since their officers give legal advice when they issue a fine!
How can a police officer on patrol confidently issue a ticket? How can they possibly have more knowledge on all the relevant road rules and laws than police HQ and relevant transport departments?
On both issues, most police say that so long as the attachment doesn’t interfere with the function or safety of the helmet it can be attached.
But how do we know it won’t affect the safety of the helmet?
Safety experts say helmets are designed so that in a crash and slide, nothing will catch on the ground and rotate your head, leading to neck injuries. But there is no empirical evidence to prove it does adversely affect safety.
Victorian Police were the sole objectors to Santa and other novelty helmet covers.
On the issue of the brake light, they said helmets must comply to the Australian Standards.
“As far as I am aware (the standards) do not allow for the attachments to motorcycle helmets to be made,” the spokeswoman said.
South Australia police said it was an ADR issue, but the brake light is not attached to the bike, so how could that affect helmet compliance?
Western Australia police flick-passed it to the light manufacturer to work with each helmet manufacturer to ensure that the helmet remains legal according to Australian Standards when the light is attached.
That’s virtually impossible. Do they know how many helmet manufacturers there are in the world!
WA police say you cannot alter the structure of an approved helmet by drilling holes, placing stickers or painting a helmet.
“So sticky adhesive pads for accessories are dependent on the quality of the helmet,” they say.
Our answer is “user beware”!
If you’re like Raphael, you may think your safety is more important than risking the off-chance of a fine.