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Old 12 Jul 2010
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British vs Australian Helmet standards

Hi There,

I have a British helmet that I have been riding with around the world and Australia for some time. The bike I ride was originally ridden for years around Europe before doing a trip from London to Sydney via The stans/Japan. Now I am residing in Sydney and have some questions regarding helmet standards.....

I recently registered my bike in Australia after getting a personal import approval.. That bit was easy.. however I was recently stopped by the police (RBT) and given a typical overbearing aussie police dose of the shits... My helmets are all in perfect condition (well looked after never dropped etc).. however they are british helmets which I purchased while living in the UK. Now thanks to the police they said its illegal for me to use those helmets on the roads here.. it seems stupid to me given that the model for use in Australia and Brittan appear to be identical part numbers the only difference is the sticker...

Has anyone else ever had any issues with this type of stuff and what was the end outcome?


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Old 12 Jul 2010
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The Australian Standard that covers motorcycle helmets, AS1698, requires tests that are not included in the equivalent British or American Standards. I understand they relate to impact with a sharp object. For that reason many models of helmet that are available in other countries are not imported into Australia either because they do not comply or because the manufacture or importer is not prepared to go to the cost of having samples tested.

Compliance with the Australian Standard has been mandated by all Australian States and Territories.

Some non-complying helmets come into the country and are sold for off-road use - but they normally carry a warning to that effect.

If you wear a helmet that does not have the AS1698 sticker on the outside and the sewn label inside, you not only risk a fine, but in the event of an accident caused by someone else that results in head injuries to you, the guilty party's insurance company is almost certain to refuse any claim.

Many experts argue that the impact test is not relevant to the vast majority of motorcycle accidents and should be removed from the standard - but the Standards Australia Committee responsible for the standard is standing firm.
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Old 12 Jul 2010
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Jimmy, if I were you I'd find an old helmet that someone was throwing away or selling cheaply, peel off the AS1698 sticker (use a hair dryer if it is stuck fast) and apply it to your helmet.
Garry from Oz - powered by Burgman
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Old 12 Jul 2010
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Very good idea about the sticker

Another idea, surely if the same model of helmet is sold in Australia, the helmet manufacturer shoud be able to provide you with a sticker anyway?

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Old 13 Jul 2010
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Not sure about the suggestion that the helmet manufacturer may be able to provide a label. Some helmets with same model number etc as those sold overseas are made to a different specification for Australia so they can meet the standard.

A few months ago my local bike shop and I checked the weights of some Shark helmets and found they exceeded the advertised weights quite considerably. The explanation from the importer/distributor was that they have to be made heavier to meet the Australian Standard.
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Old 14 Jul 2010
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I have just arrived in Australia with a British bought Arai Tour X3. I believe this helmet undergoes sharp object impact testing as standard even though it is not required in the UK.No idea how this argument will hold up if I get stopped though. Might also use the 'steal a sticker' idea.
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Old 14 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by DuncanCarwright View Post
I have just arrived in Australia with a British bought Arai Tour X3. I believe this helmet undergoes sharp object impact testing as standard even though it is not required in the UK.No idea how this argument will hold up if I get stopped though. Might also use the 'steal a sticker' idea.
Foreign registered bike = wear whatever the hell ya want with the local wallopers mate.

Once you affix an Australian registration label, you are demmed to be resident and subject to all the laws and standards that apply in State or territory.

You'll be fine as long as you're just "travelling through".
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Old 31 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by Stormboy View Post
Foreign registered bike = wear whatever the hell ya want with the local wallopers mate...
That's not the case at all, well in NSW at least.

Irrespective of the origin of the vehicle's registration, local road traffic laws still apply.

NSW Road Rules 2008

270 Wearing motor bike helmets

(1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must:

(a) wear an approved motor bike helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head, and
(b) not ride with a passenger unless the passenger complies with subrule (2).

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

Note. Motor bike and park are defined in the Dictionary.

(2) A passenger on a motor bike that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must wear an approved motor bike helmet securely fitted and fastened on the passenger’s head.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

(3) In this rule:

approved motor bike helmet means a protective helmet for motor bike riders of a type approved by the Authority.

Note 1.

Authority is defined in the Act.

Note 2.

This definition is not uniform with the definition in rule 270 (3) of the Australian Road Rules. However, the definition in the Australian Road Rules allows another law of this jurisdiction to make provision for the approval of protective helmets for motor bikes. Different definitions may apply in other Australian jurisdictions.

passenger, of a motor bike, includes a person on a passenger seat of the motor bike (including the pillion seat), or in a sidecar.

It's quite simple. Don't wear an approved helmet, and you risk making an involuntary donation to the NSW Office of State Revenue - State Debt Recovery.
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Old 1 Sep 2010
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I would just buy a cheap helmet over there with the right 'BS' and post my UK lid home. Insurance companies will find the tiniest loophole for not paying out and anyone with foreign plates will be the first to get picked on the world over! Ain't that right Taz?
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Old 1 Sep 2010
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I recently purchased a helmet in Bolivia with an AS1698 'DOT' sticker on it, much to my surprise. I don't think it means much but hey, it's the law and as you already know Aussie police aren't very lenient....
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Old 14 Sep 2010
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This thread started with a complaint about the fact that a British helmet isn't automatically legal in Australia, but the reverse also applies!

According to Department for Transport (DfT) UK the Motor Cycles (Protective Helmets) Regulations 1998 as amended by the Motor Cycles (Protective Helmets) (Amendment) Regulations 2000, require a helmet to comply with BS 6658:1985 and have the "kitemark" or UN ECE Regulation 22.05 and have the UN "E" mark. Helmets that comply with another standard accepted by an EEA State that is equivalent is also accepted but the website says there aren't any at this time.

This means an Aussie helmet is not acceptable in the UK
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Old 18 Sep 2010
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Sorry Stormboy, but I agree with GuzziPete. I have ridden bikes in Oz (and elsewhere) for >40 years and never had the police check the helmet - yet. I have Shuberth I bought in Asia but I just do not wear it here. IF they checked they would fail it. I am sure that if I was riding a foreign register bike they would pull you over for sure and certainly check the helmet.

Note that the sticker exchange would work but 2 things. Make sure it is stuck on well. If it is peeling a bit they will "go you". The second is that many cops do or have ridden bikes and if they see you with a helmet brand they do not recognise they may check. They all have computer access in the field. As an example, Shuberths are not sold in Oz and they may work it out.
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Old 18 Sep 2010
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Just to confuse matters even more...........

Australia's Federal Government agreed about 10 years ago to recognise the CE mark as compliance with Australian Standards and the ECE standards specifically for motor vehicles, the precedence of legislation in Australia is - Federal - State - Local. The ECE standards will replace Australian vehicle design rules over the next few years - thank god.

The original helmet legislation was put in place when Australia had a couple of local helmet manufacturers who wanted protection from nasty overseas manufacturers - but it was also the time of getting rid of tarriffs - so they managed to become the "expert panel" of the Standards writers. Got all these expensive tests that needed an observer/scientist present, had to have AS3900/ISO9000 as well to make them. Its really just another form of tarriff against imports and why we pay so much for imported items.

Risks of getting caught? next to nil. Most coppers see a foreign plate and turn the other way knowing that unless they lock you up you wont pay the fine or attend court, which increases their paperwork about tenfold.
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Old 19 Sep 2010
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helmet in OZ

Bought a new Shark evoline, French company, here in Australia the other day.
The helmet is made in Thailand, got a sticker on which says:

certified product, compliance of this product with AS/NZ 1698:2006
is monitored by TUV Rheinland, ID 61666-www.tuv.com

The colour of the label is know totally silver, used to be red & white.

That means the standard of these helmets is monitored by a German technical institution. Bugger if I know.

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