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Helmets recalled for safety

Chinese KBC helmet

Is your helmet safe? The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has this year issued four helmet safety recalls, the first since 1978.

None of the helmets seems to comply with Australian standards or as stated in the ACCC recall, “do not meet performance requirements that are outlined in the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS1698:2006”.

So we have to ask, how did they ever get sold here?

The first recall was in April for Kylin XR-205 helmets, followed in May by KBC VR-1X and an expanded recall for the Kylin helmet in all sizes. Now the X1 Moto XR-205 sold by J & M Dixon via eBay has been recalled.

All but the KBC are Chinese-made shorty open-face skull-cap-type helmets which no one in their right mind could believe would offer much protection anyway. However, that’s for the rider to decide.

X1 Moto XR-205
X1 Moto XR-205

But the KBC is a full-face race-type helmet made by an America company and would be expected to comply and offer decent protection.

Yet the recalls say “there is a possibility that the helmets may not provide adequate protection to the wearer in the event of an accident and may increase the risk of death or serious injury to the wearer.”

Have these helmets fallen through the cracks in varying legislations in each state?

Last month Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese told the Australian Motorcycle Council 4th Annual Federal Members and Senators Motorcycle Ride that he acknowledged the laws on motorcycle helmets were inconsistent across all the states and promised to do something about it.

“We will work with States and Territories to make sure regulations affecting motorcyclists are uniform across the country. It is crazy that you can buy a helmet in Civic and be breaking the law by the time you reach Queanbeyan. We need a national standard for helmets and preferably also one for clothing so that riders everywhere can have the best possible protection.”

That’s not news. We’ve known that for some time. Where is the action?

Australian Motorcycle Council’s Helmet Committee member Guy Stanford has been harping on about the inconsistencies for years to anyone who will listen, so why has nothing been done yet?

It’s a complex issue, but we’ve distilled the issue down a bit:

A helmet that is legal to use under the new NSW Road Rules is illegal to use in the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

In these states, the police are looking for helmets that have a variety of certification trade mark stickers mentioning “Standards Association of Australia”, “Australian Standards Mark”, “Standards Australia” and in NT and Queensland they are looking for a sticker indicating an old standard which expired in 1988.

So where does that leave us?

Guy suggests we continue to wear our helmets or buy a new one from a recognised manufacturer.

He also suggests the police only consider the fact that a rider is wearing a helmet.

“You don’t look for stickers on seatbelts, just that they’re being used,” he says.

“Bookings for ‘unapproved helmet’ are likely to prove unsound in court.”

Meanwhile, the AMC is pressing the issue, but we can only sit and wait. It’s going to be a long way down the list of things to do with the election looming up.

As for the recalled helmets, the ACCC says consumers should “immediately stop using the helmets and contact the supplier to organise for a refund or replacement”.