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Riders want international helmet laws

DOT helmet stickers

Riders confused by complex helmet laws and conflicting interpretations across state borders would prefer to replace the Australian safety standard with a recognised international standard.

So says Simon Bell, assistant director of policy and standards at the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Simon, who claims he’s a rider, says they have three options to solve the issues around the current Australian helmet standard.

The options will be put to the minister Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, who is responsible for the ACCC and will make the final decision on the matter.

Simon pointed out that their standards only applied to the supply of helmets to the retailer, not their use.

He says our mandatory standards are out of date and we need a new one.

“The world has moved on and we have to make a new one,” he says.

Helmet laws helmet stickers
USA DOT standard

The ACCC’s preferred option is to remove the mandatory standard and rely on existing provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

Simon says this removes an unnecessary layer of regulation.

However, he says riders prefer the second option to remake the standard and allow internationally recognised standards.

“Riders are overwhelmingly in support,” he says. “This increases the range available and the price may go down but that’s not guaranteed.

“But the problem is with the road use laws. If we allowed suppliers to sell and road use laws didn’t change, then we would be allowing sales of something that can’t be legally used.” (That is currently the scenario in Queensland.)

Option 3 is to remake the standard. “This doesn’t work because it’s an additional layer of unnecessary regulation, but it involves the least amount of change,” he says.

“The problem is supply and use laws can become out of step. Recent changes to Queensland laws mean UNECE-compliant helmets can be legally worn but not legally sold, so no one would be able to sell them. Retailers have been asking what we are going to do about that.”

He also admitted that he could not recall the ACCC prosecuting a retailer for selling a non-compliant helmet in the past five years.