Can you legally remove your helmet sticker?

Motorcycle Helmets label and sticker

You can now remove the approval certificate sticker on the outside of your helmet, but you still need to have an internal certificate label or sticker to avoid a fine from a copper who thinks they know the law better than you.

In fact, just in case you are ever stopped by a cop for a non-compliant helmet, we suggest you cut and paste this article and keep it in your smartphone or print it out and leave it in your motorcycle jacket pocket to show them.

Over the past few years each state in Australia has approved the use of European-approved helmets, with South Australia the last to fall into line in 2016.

That means you have to wear a helmet that is Australian approved (AS/NZS 1698) or European approved (ECE 22.05).

You cannot wear other approvals such as Japanese JIS or American DOT helmets unless they also carry an ECE 22.05 certificate.

However, you do not need to leave the certificate sticker on the outside of the helmet.

Under AS/NZS 1698, your helmet has to be “permanently and legibly marked”. A label inside the helmet can be that “permanent” requirement.

Helmet label sticker
Internal label

ECE 22.05 does not require any external sticker except for the manufacturer’s trademark name, only a certificate label sewn to the chin-strap.

Sticker rule makes senseHelmet stickers sticker and lebal

Motorcycle Council of NSW helmet expert Guy Stanford says the rules now make sense as external stickers are “subject to fade or defacement in normal use”.

“In fact, the external sticker is not part of the standard, nor part of the road rules,” Guy advises.

“The important labels for all purposes are those inside the helmet, but most significant in terms of what is on a label is that it includes a certification mark.

“The external label can be best described as advertising for the certification company.

“Some police think it means something else.”

Guy says that once a certification company puts their certification mark on a helmet, they have made themselves responsible for the compliance of that helmet.

“While several road authority sites carry a picture of the external sticker, it has no force of law,” he says. “They are simply examples.”

Internal labels

The external sticker’s trademark is only a copy of what is inside the helmet, anyway.

That internal label is usually sewn to the comfort liner or chin strap.

In some cases it may be on a separate sticker on the polystyrene impact absorption layer under the comfort lining.

Some European helmets have labels that are very difficult to find. For example, Davida helmets tuck it under a sleeve on the chin strap.

Just because you can’t see it does not mean it’s not there. You just need to look a little harder.

Helmet label sticker
Obscured label still legal

Guy says these obscured labels are still legal as they are able to be read without removing any padding. You might just have to dig around the lining a bit.

He also advises that if the label becomes unreadable because of the “normal wear and tear” of riding, it is still legal.

“If you can see the remains of the certification mark on an inside label and that the label information was originally there, then there is no problem with determining that, when sold, it was a standards-compliant helmet,” he says.

Helmet label sticker
Faded label still legal

“If Johnny Copper asserts that a helmet is no longer compliant due to partial illegibility, then that is the same as saying a car is not ADR compliant or defective because the under-bonnet labels have become faded and illegible with age, exposure to rain, mud or atmosphere, wear, normal cleaning, etc.”

ECE 22.05 labelsHelmet label sticker ECE 22.05

All those numbers and letters on ECE labels have a meaning.

The number 22 refers to regulation #22 applying to road helmets which has been revised five times; hence it’s 22.05.

A circle with E and a number refers to the country in which the helmet was approved:

  • E1: Germany
  • E2: France
  • E3: Italy
  • E4: the Netherlands
  • E5: Sweden
  • E6: Belgium
  • E7: Hungary
  • E8: Czech Republic
  • E9: Spain
  • E10: Yugoslavia
  • E11: United Kingdom
  • E12: Austria
  • E13: Luxembourg
  • E14: Switzerland
  • E16: Norway

The numbers and letters on the next line are divided into three sections.

The first section is the homologation, starting with the revision of ECE approval. It can be 03, 04, or 05 which is the current version. The next five digits are the homologation number.

It is followed by a letter which refers to the type of helmet:

  • “/J” if the helmet does not have a lower face cover (open or jet)
  • “/P” if the helmet has a protective lower face cover (full-face)
  • “/NP” if the helmet has a non-protective lower face cover

Some flip-up or modular helmets have both J and P approval which means they can legally be used with the chin piece raised or lowered.

The last bunch of digits refers to the production serial or batch number.

9 Comments

  1. The article shows “instructions to user” which reads more like advice but says that the helmet ‘may’ be damaged by petrol, paint, adhesives etc etc.
    Is this ‘instruction’ from the manufacturer or from the Government ?
    Is this “instruction ( read advice ? ) legally enforceable ?
    Could a badge stuck on therefore make the helmet illegal ?
    If so, what about the external stick-on safety labels ?
    JMB

      1. Yeah, OK, I got that from the article. My question was whether the “instructions to user” is from the manufacturer or from Government, if from Government, which country’s Government and whether the instructions are legally enforceable in Australia ?
        Third Q, my kids have placed “Black Dog Ride” stickers on their helmets….does this render their helmets unlawful ?
        Cheers.
        JMB

        1. Hi JMB,
          Those instructions are from the manufacturer and not enforceable.
          They are simply for “point of sale”.
          There is no reference in any of the helmet laws to placing stickers on a helmet. However, the brand of helmet (AGV, Shoei, etc) must still be visible on Euro-approved helmets.
          Cheers,
          Mark

  2. Whats wrong with American DOT helmets ? apart from not being legal in OZ ( why ? )
    From my reading they are a very similar standard to ECE helmets if not better

    1. If you look at most new Bell helmets they are both DOT and ECE compliant they have both labels on the outside and inside.

  3. QUOTE: “In fact, the external sticker is not part of the standard, nor part of the road rules,” Guy advises.
    “The important labels for all purposes are those inside the helmet, but most significant in terms of what is on a label is that it includes a certification mark.” END QUOTE.

    From my understanding that has been the case even before the introduction of ECE 22.05…well that’s the way I read the marking & labelling section in my copy of AS 1698—1988 anyhow… :/

    1. That’s correct. The standard mentioned ‘marking’ which had to be included on the label, there is no way all of this information could have been included on a small sticker, thus the sticker never met the requirement anyway. The information under section 8 that needed to be on the label was:

      Each helmet shall be permanently and legibly marked in letters no less than 1.5 mm, in such a manner
      that the marking can be easily read without the removal of padding, or any permanent part, with the
      following:
      (a) Name of the manufacturer.
      (b) Model designation.
      (c) Size.
      (d) Month and year of manufacture (may be spelled out, e.g. ‘July 2005, or in figures, e.g. ‘7/05’).
      (e) The words ‘Vehicle User’s Helmet’.
      (f) Instructions to user:
      (i) Shell and liner constructed of (identify type(s) of material).
      (ii) Helmet may be seriously damaged by substances such as petrol, paint, adhesives, or cleaning agents.
      (iii) Make no modifications.
      (iv) Fasten helmet securely.
      (v) If helmet experiences a severe blow, destroy it and replace it.
      (vi) Ensure that any visor attached to this helmet meets the requirements of AS 1609.
      (g) The certification mark (where required by Statutory Authorities).

      Even the NSW Police were aware of this, even if individual officers weren’t: “Should a helmet not have such a label affixed to the inside of the helmet but display a standard certification sticker it DOES NOT comply and is not deemed an approved helmet.” – from NSW Police advice to officers.

  4. Well, I just copy this post and made it a PDF file for keeping it on my phone. Great information of should be kept for handling critical situations. Thanks for this great post.

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