Riders are still having a lot of difficulty buying international standard UNECE 22.05 helmets in Australia despite them being allowed in three states and both territories.
In December, NSW joined Queensland, Victoria, the ACT and Northern Territory in approving the use of the UNECE 22.05 motorcycle helmets and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission changed the rules to allow their retail sale.
Western Australia will follow by the beginning of February then Tasmania by the end of the month, says longtime helmet campaigner Wayne Carruthers.
However South Australia seems to be out of step with their road regulations still saying it is illegal to sell UNECE helmets in direct conflict with the new ACCC ruling.
Even though Queensland was the first to allow the UNECE helmets about a year ago, we could not find any available in local motorcycle stores, except the discount warehouses. The same is apparently true around the country.
Perhaps it is an issue of the major motorcycle chains trying to clear out their current stock before introducing new helmets.
There would also be the issue of new helmets costing less than Australian-approved helmets which may become more difficult to sell.
Several motorcycle helmet importers (who resisted the change in standards laws) have told us they will not stock UNECE helmets until all the states fall into line.
It also seems that some motorcycle store owners may be ignorant of the new laws. I asked several and they said they hadn’t heard of the changes.
This is despite the fact that the ACCC advised dealers that is now legal to sell UNECE standard helmets.
Rob Ferrington, importer of UNECE Suomy helmets, says the interest in his helmets is growing with several calls from retailers.
“I believe Suomy is the only one (UNECE helmet brand) so far available in stores, but I’m sure it will grow over the next few months,” he says.
“From here on in, the importers will probably order them straight off the shelf and save themselves some money.”