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European motorcycle helmets legal in 2016

NSW MCC vice-chairman Chris Burns (left), NSW Transport Minister Duncan Gay and police officer - helmet legal issue
NSW MCC vice-chairman Chris Burns (left), NSW Transport Minister Duncan Gay and police officer

International-standard European helmets will become legal to wear in NSW “by early 2016”, according to NSW Transport Minister Duncan Gay.

This will bring the state into line on approval for United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) helmets with Queensland, Victoria and Northern Territory and allow riders to cross test borders without fear of being fined.

The Minister’s office has issued an updated release after announcing last week at the launch of Motorcycle Awareness Week that NSW will only approve the use of the helmets, after the Federal Government and Australian Consumer and Competition Commission approve their sale by local retailers under rule Consumer Protection Notice 9 (CPN9).

“While I appreciate our neighbouring states have made changes to their own laws, it makes no sense to allow the wearing of helmets without fixing the retail side of it at a Commonwealth level – we need to enable helmets manufactured to the European Standard to be both worn and sold in NSW,” the new statement says.

“To resolve this, we will be writing to the Federal Minister to ask for amendments to the consumer laws so international helmets can be legally sold right across Australia.

“Once the Commonwealth makes these suggested amendments riders will be able to buy and wear these helmets in NSW.

“This will give riders and retailers access to a wider range of quality motorcycle helmets “This is a win for rider safety and a win for retailers.

“We are working towards having these new arrangements in place by early 2016.”

Until then, interstate riders should be wary of riding into NSW wearing helmets without the proper Australian Standard sticker as the state still considers UNECE helmets illegal and will fine riders for non-compliance.AS/NZ1698 helmet sticker - illegal helmets

The same goes for interstate riders in South Australia and Western Australia, while the ACT and Tasmania have not yet indicated whether they will fine riders.

The issue is with the CPN9 rule that only allows Australia-approved helmets to be sold here. So the only way riders can obtain a UNECE helmet is to buy one when travelling overseas or over the internet.

The Australian Motorcycle Council warns riders against buying a helmet online without having first tried it on, saying a badly fitting helmet is less than useless in protecting a rider’s head in a collision.

The ball is now in the court of the Federal Minister for Small Business & Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer. 

“The federal government is aware of the NSW Government’s announcement to allow motorcyclists to wear helmets that meet the European standard,” a statement from her office says.

“We are currently considering whether amendments to the federal standards and consumer laws are needed.”


  1. The ACCC has been turning a blind eye to the sale of helmets compliant to standards other than AS1698 for Motorsport use since 1990 when ACCC CPN 9 was gazetted and has turned a blind eye to the sale of helmets certified to AS/NZS1698-2006 since 2007 so for the NSW Minister to make approval of UNECE 22.05 helmets for road use dependant on the ACCC changing CPN 9 flies in the face of reality

    Since 1996 under the Trans Tasman agreements with NZ the sale of helmets other than AS1698 has supposed to be legal in Australia

    Retailers have already started advertising, stocking and selling UNECE 22.05 helmets so all the delay does is leave open the door for further police harassment

  2. There was a very funny British tv show called Yes Minister, the shows premise was the constant battle between a minister who was part every man part incompetent boob part savvy operator and part good guy and the public servant who would do anything to avoid change unless it involved a knighthood an obe or a pay rise.
    Grab an episode from Netflix or some place and you’ll understand when I say
    Yes minister Duncan!

  3. Well that is good news! I’m glad it is happening. Thanks.

    Now let’s get started on the NSW government agreeing that ‘loud pipes save lives’, Valentino Rossi should be made a honorary Australian and bike parking on footpaths is a valid way to reduce traffic congestion at near zero cost. Might need some federal help with some of this.

    I’m dreaming, of course.

  4. Yeah you are right JFE.

    I think Casey stoner would be better as he is Australian but if he turns it down for sure. Rossi would be unreal to get in on it.

    But I think Jack Miller and Anthony West, two Australians that are currently in the MotoGP would be fantastic (and more likely) candidates for this.

  5. Hi all,
    can someone help me with an important matter about European helmets?
    I received as a present from Italy a new MOMO helmet, certified E4, can you tell me if I can ride with this helmet or if I have to get a sticker that “authorise” me to use this helmet in Australia, or who should I ask for these matters? VIcRoad are not aware and I don’t know ehere to go.
    Thanks and regards,

    1. Michele, there are no additional Australia only labelling requirements for UNECE 22.05 helmets so you are good to go with the helmet in all States except South Australia who have not yet gazetted their UNECE 22.05 approval but it would have to be a pretty poor Highway Patrol officer in SA to write a ticket on it in the final month before they gazette their regulations

      The “4” in the E4 simply means it was approved in the Netherlands for use in all countries where UNECE 22.05 helmets are allowed, look on the chin strap you will find the approval number and the helmet serial number as well, they are the important parts of UNECE 22.05 helmet approvals and are something our police are going to have to get used to looking at just as police in the other 50 countries UNECE have been doing for years

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