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Riders in the dark over wearing face masks

R-PUR anti-pollution and anti-pollen motorcyclist face mask

Victorian police and health officials have left motorcycle riders in the dark over whether helmets are suitable and legal substitutes for face masks.

The move to mandatory face masks in Melbourne City and Mitchell Shire from 23 July 2020 comes as coronavirus infection rates spiral out of control.

The measures could soon be matched in NSW where there is talk of further restrictions similar to countries around the world that are mandating masks when in public.

Many riders may have no problem with wearing a mask, just the definition of what legally constitutes a mask (Facebook “legal experts”, aside!)

Masks clarification

MV Agusta has launched the COVID mask which is not guaranteed to protect!

Riders confused about the new direction and $200 fine have called for clarification on the measures.

So I contacted the Victorian Police and they simply replied:

The interpretation of Chief Health Officer restrictions is a matter for the Department of Health and Human Services. I recommend you contact DHHS with your questions.

So I did.

However, the Victorian Health Department simply pointed us to their website which answers some of these questions.

It says that the mask can be either a cloth mask or a one-use surgical mask that covers both the mouth and nose. Click here for more details.

If your pillion is under 18, they do not have to wear a mask.

However, it notes that a scarf or bandana does not offer the same amount of protection as well-fitted face masks:

This is due to the type of fabrics they are made from. Properly constructed cloth masks are made from at least three layers of materials, including a water-resistant outer layer.

That may rule out some motorcycle face masks, although the site says any cloth covering is better than none.VLAD Act Vlad laws

It doesn’t answer the question about whether a helmet is an approved substitute for a face mask.


John Eacott

Meanwhile, riders remain in the dark and Australian Motorcycle Council spokesman John Eacott says it’s “madness with everyone offering opinions but no facts.”

He says powered two-wheelers don’t feature in the health department website and points to this section which refers to cars which he says may carry across to PTWs:


If you are driving in a car by yourself or with a member of your household, you do not need to wear a face mask but you should carry one with you for when you exit the vehicle. If you are in a car with other people for work or rideshare purposes then you must wear a mask.

That should mean a helmet is ok, but when you stop you will have to don a mask.

That would make sense and heed UK motorcycle riding surgeon Dr Tommy Lim’s warning to riders about wearing a mask under their helmet.

He says riders could blackout if they wear a surgical mask under a full-face or modular motorcycle helmet, especially in hot conditions, or vigorous riding such as at a rack of off-road.

Dr Lim said the material that filtered particles before they entered the lungs could reduce oxygen to riders and potentially cause a blackout:

Surgical masks restrict your breathing. This can be fatal at high speeds when your adrenalin kicks in. Adrenalin will cause your heartbeat to double depending on your speed. This, in effect, will make you breathe faster and these masks will restrict your breathing and give your heart a hard time. Next, your brain will also suffer due to lack of oxygen until you blackout.

I think riders are smart enough to realise they should open their vents and/or visor for more air.


In the end, perhaps you should heed the advice of Premier Daniel Andrews:

The rules are to serve all of us and I will just say that if you have a question in your mind, should I be doing this, the answer almost certainly is no. You should not.

On behalf of all Aussie riders, I wish those riders affected by the lockdown the best of health!

Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, obey the rules and respect the health of others, especially those at risk.

Source: World Health Organisation
    1. The masks are covid relevant, the head socks at are not as they are single layer material and thus ineffective as far as the covid safe requirements.

  1. Mandatory masks just proves we are governed by imbeciles.
    While many motorcycle masks are superior to most if not all surgical type masks that would be suitable under the mandate they will not prevent you from catching any bug let alone covid.
    While 99.99 percent of the population have little to fear from this particular bug unlike standard seasonal flu which statistically has already killed more people this year than covid masks handwringing and social distancing are all just a public placebo with no real effect on the spread of the bug or the survival rate.
    The worst thing that happened was the stupidity occurred at the height of the Australian summer when there was far less danger from the bug than there is in winter.
    The only people who should have been locked down were the sick and elderly and those with allergies. If you’re young healthy and get plenty of vitamin D you are very unlikely to even notice this bug let alone need hospital care. And if all the young healthy people caught the bug in summer it would have quickly died out leaving society with the necessary herd immunity to prevent the far more dangerous spread during winter.

      1. Al, please get of Facebook and look at real science. You really are spruiking rubbish…..your not related to the Donald? Perhaps a trip to the US or Sweden would help realign your thinking on herd immunity. Masks are a simple (not foolproof) method to assist in reducing the spread of a nasty bug.

  2. any sort of mask is irrelevant when riding, even at say 10kmh – it is only when not moving its relevant. So easiest would be to carry mask in pocket so when get off bike put on mask. This should be clearly indicated on relevant Govt covid info.

  3. For those who usually wear bandanas and don’t want to pay rip-off prices for disposable masks. Place a coffee filter paper inside the fold of the bandana. But be prepared, I wore mine into a shop and the guy thought it was a hold-up lol. And a tip for cheap bandanas – Woolworths Big W party section.

  4. The flu deaths are mostly attributed solely to the flu as the primary cause with no discrimination between the fit young and healthy and those already on deaths door.
    So far covid doesn’t harm the fit young healthy people in the slightest unless they have allergies or are malnourished especially lacking vitamin D.
    Those who die from covid tend to have one foot in the grave and covid may or may not be the banana peel.
    So far the way the statistics on supposed covid deaths are being inflated by false attribution, someone who has been shot to death and has tested positive may be listed as a covid death. Covid is not the flu it’s actually the common cold as it is from the same family of viruses, the common cold kills thousands of people every year.

    I do not know if they thought covid was going to be worse than it actually is or this is just an exercise in proving how truly incompetent most governments are or if this is some kind of conspiracy theorists nightmare , all I know is they have gotten the response arse backwards and doing far more harm than good.

    1. You are a Covidiot spouting bullshit. You are callous and lack any form of empathy.

      Are you happy to tell the parents of the babies in ICU that there’s nothing to worry about because you know better than the doctors? Can you hold the hand of a grieving widow and tell them to stop being upset because their partner was going to die anyway? Does your mother/father/grandfather deserve to die from this virus because they are old?

      How about you visit hospital rooms of a sick Covid patients and hold their hands while they struggle to breathe? You are not allowed any PPE of course….you don’t think it’s that serious, right?

      From – “Between 16 and 22 July:

      -there have been more than 2,300 cases reported, an increase from more than 1,654 cases reported in the previous week
      -while cases have spanned all age groups, the majority of people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 in Victoria have been aged between 10 to 49 years
      -approximately 9% of the cases recently diagnosed have been admitted to hospital
      -people of all ages have needed hospital care, but hospitalisation has been more common for people aged over 60 years and children aged less than 20 years. View the number of people currently in hospital.”

      1. Sorry Tara he is mostly correct , except it is not a common cold virus although from the same family it is more virulent.
        Most of those whom succumb will have inter current illnesses and sometimes it will be the virus other times the illnesses . Naturally neonates are vulnerable as they are to many things and some in the middle years will succumb for varying reasons.
        The problem is firstly everything is being put down to covid and it is a good way (opportunistic) to scare the population into compliance
        The next thing is that none of our governments have thought beyond their first -reasonable- reaction on how to control this . More of the same wont cut it and no new ways of managing things
        has been developed .
        The government projects blame on to the population for increasing numbers , really, we had a magic period of low numbers did anyone really imagine that was it! When the rest of the world is aflame with it . The notion there will be no cases is ridiculous and that the hidden message is that there should be no cases and that is disingenuous by our governments.

          1. Scantus simplicitus johno
            cant tell fact from fake and does not know how to cross reference

  5. This is easy, you can only carry a pillion if they are from your house and you do not need to wear a mask around somebody from your house. Same goes if you are both in a car. Off the motorbike a helmet IS NOT suitable as a face mask.

  6. Two cop-outs here (1) by VIC Police and (2) the VIC Premier to say “The interpretation of Chief Health Officer restrictions is a matter for the Department of Health and Human Services. I recommend you contact DHHS with your questions.” AND “if you have a question…should I be doing this, the answer almost certainly is no. You should not.”

    In their enforcement role, the Police MUST understand/interpret the law correctly and not leave it to interpretations by individual personnel.

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