Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

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Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Mar 27, 2024 7:56 pm

Big news (courtesy of Bicycle Industries Australia)

Helmet laws are being changes to effectively allow helmets that meet Australian standard AND now a list of overseas standard to be sold and used legally.

Government Announcement


Implications
The implications are that helmet brands can save the $10,000 - $30,000 compliance / certification testing required (per helmet model) to get Australian certified helmets if they already have compliance with one of the new listed certifications.

In addition, the Australian standard tests differ slightly from other standard and means that in cases, brands had to construct their Australian version helmets differently which could mean optical differences, material difference and construction differences... all adds to the cost.


The review started in 2016 and now has these recommendations:

The new safety standard will now allow suppliers to sell bicycle helmets in Australia which meet any of the voluntary Australian and overseas standards listed below:
  • Australian standard: AS/NZS 2063:2020 Helmets for use on bicycles and wheeled recreational devices
  • Australian standard: AS/NZS 2063:2008 Bicycle helmets
  • European standard EN 1078:2012+A1:2012 Helmets for pedal cyclists and for user of skateboards and roller skates
  • US Consumer Product Safety Commission standard US CPSC 16 C.F.R. Part 1203 Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets
  • ASTM International standard F1447-18 Standard Specification for Helmets Used in Recreational Bicycling or Roller Skating
  • Snell standard B-95 1995 Bicycle Helmet Standard 1998 revision Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling.

It is expected to take 2 years for the Australia states and territories to update their laws.



Summary
This should mean that the cost of helmets can drop which is good news for all and reduces the cost and bureaucracy for brands and distributers.
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby brumby33 » Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:24 pm

Be even cheaper if they scrapped the Mandatory legislation in all states to encourage more cycling just like in Europe, UK, Japan and USA.

Yes it'd be great to have that larger selection of helmets but without the legislation that forces us to wear them without the risk of heavy handed fines.
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby warthog1 » Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:28 pm

Thanks for the info.
Have 2 relatively new helmets so right for a while. By the time I need them they may be a bit cheaper.
I wonder if it means we will be able to purchase them from overseas online retailers and avoid the Australia tax. That would be good.
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby Thoglette » Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:34 pm

No idea why other standards for similar sort of protection (e.g. rigging/climbing) or more protection (e.g. m’cycles) aren’t acceptable.

Oh, of course you’d not have buy them from a Bicycle Industries Australia member:-).

It’s an improvement & a step towards the bloody obvious.
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby jasonc » Wed Mar 27, 2024 9:07 pm

Thoglette wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:34 pm


It’s an improvement & a step towards the bloody obvious.
This

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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Mar 27, 2024 10:09 pm

BIA is a voluntary member organisation for the industry though generally represent the interest of the entire industry. For example they were active in pursuing removal of the threshold for low value imports (alongside organisations for many other industry segments) which quickly reduced the margins for these low-value sales from overseas retailers and direct to customers.


The discussion of the Mandatory Helmet Laws - which tends to be for / against - is best here:
https://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/view ... hp?t=31309
(But before participating in that, you do have to read through 10,000 posts first)


I think this is a really good move. It won't impact the cheap end of the market (kmart helmets) and I expect that some of the savings for consumers may not be as big as we (as consumers) expect both because it is a fraction and for any savings, the brand, distributer and retailer would be happy to hold onto increasing margins and maintain the RRPs.
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby Mike Ayling » Thu Mar 28, 2024 8:05 am

Thoglette wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:34 pm
No idea why other standards for similar sort of protection (e.g. rigging/climbing) or more protection (e.g. m’cycles) aren’t acceptable.

Oh, of course you’d not have buy them from a Bicycle Industries Australia member:-).

It’s an improvement & a step towards the bloody obvious.
Are you suggesting that the helmet that I bought from Aldi is not Aus standard compliant?
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Mar 28, 2024 9:07 am

It seems a little unclear.

Perhaps I missed it, but the announcement seemed to be that it will be legal (at some unspecified time) to sell helmets that meet other standards.

However the ability to wear helmets that meet other standards (in road related areas) will be subject to the various states and territories changing their legislation, which may or may not ever happen.

Until then there will likely continue to be a steady increase in the number of people who are wearing a helmet that doesn't meet the currently required standards. I have no doubt that many people like me who are horrified by the price of some of the offerings. (I succumbed to peer pressure to buy my son a Mask Mistral recently).

I presume that from an enforcement point of view there won't be police pulling people over to check that their helmet complies if it is being worn in a reasonably correct manner, but there may be a bit of insurance dodgery happening if someone acquires a head injury whilst wearing a 'non-approved' helmet regardless of whether an AS-2063 one would have performed any better.

Still it is a step in the right direction.

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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby LateStarter » Thu Mar 28, 2024 10:52 am

AUbicycles wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2024 7:56 pm
The review started in 2016 .......
[and]
....It is expected to take 2 years for the Australia states and territories to update their laws.
no wonder Australia is at least 10 years off the pace, 50 in some areas?
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby familyguy » Thu Mar 28, 2024 12:26 pm

Mike Ayling wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 8:05 am
Thoglette wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:34 pm
No idea why other standards for similar sort of protection (e.g. rigging/climbing) or more protection (e.g. m’cycles) aren’t acceptable.

Oh, of course you’d not have buy them from a Bicycle Industries Australia member:-).

It’s an improvement & a step towards the bloody obvious.
Are you suggesting that the helmet that I bought from Aldi is not Aus standard compliant?
Such an odd thing, if it's got a sticker, it's compliant. I've seen $20 department store helmets that have an AS sticker. But a second-hand, unworn Bell Z20 Aero I looked at recently didn't, as it wasn't initially purchased in Australia. So, a no-go for me as I don't want insurers having any excuses to avoid paying out for my family in the worst case scenario as per:
ironhanglider wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 9:07 am
I presume that from an enforcement point of view there won't be police pulling people over to check that their helmet complies if it is being worn in a reasonably correct manner, but there may be a bit of insurance dodgery happening if someone acquires a head injury whilst wearing a 'non-approved' helmet regardless of whether an AS-2063 one would have performed any better.
Given that courts and such have attributed proportions of negligence to riders for not having a front light when hit from behind and other assorted weasel phrasings, anything that avoids them denying a payout is currently good value until the changes flow through to state level.

It's always been interesting that motorbike helmets that conform to Snell or CE have always been legit. Only bike helmets haven't accepted foreign standards.

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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby g-boaf » Thu Mar 28, 2024 12:29 pm

familyguy wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 12:26 pm
Mike Ayling wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 8:05 am
Thoglette wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2024 8:34 pm
No idea why other standards for similar sort of protection (e.g. rigging/climbing) or more protection (e.g. m’cycles) aren’t acceptable.

Oh, of course you’d not have buy them from a Bicycle Industries Australia member:-).

It’s an improvement & a step towards the bloody obvious.
Are you suggesting that the helmet that I bought from Aldi is not Aus standard compliant?
Such an odd thing, if it's got a sticker, it's compliant. I've seen $20 department store helmets that have an AS sticker. But a second-hand, unworn Bell Z20 Aero I looked at recently didn't, as it wasn't initially purchased in Australia. So, a no-go for me as I don't want insurers having any excuses to avoid paying out for my family in the worst case scenario as per:
ironhanglider wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 9:07 am
I presume that from an enforcement point of view there won't be police pulling people over to check that their helmet complies if it is being worn in a reasonably correct manner, but there may be a bit of insurance dodgery happening if someone acquires a head injury whilst wearing a 'non-approved' helmet regardless of whether an AS-2063 one would have performed any better.
Given that courts and such have attributed proportions of negligence to riders for not having a front light when hit from behind and other assorted weasel phrasings, anything that avoids them denying a payout is currently good value until the changes flow through to state level.

It's always been interesting that motorbike helmets that conform to Snell or CE have always been legit. Only bike helmets haven't accepted foreign standards.
I’m sure I remember someone on here lecturing me that the same helmet with the AS sticker was far safer than another same model from overseas.

I hope the new situation will make more helmets available.

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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby familyguy » Thu Mar 28, 2024 12:48 pm

g-boaf wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 12:29 pm
I’m sure I remember someone on here lecturing me that the same helmet with the AS sticker was far safer than another same model from overseas.

I hope the new situation will make more helmets available.
As long as it wasn't me! My hazy memory from when I looked into this years ago was that the main difference is buckle types and strap widths, to cope with the additional test that the AS system required. Units were failing due to extension of the straps and pulling of ratchet type buckles.

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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby find_bruce » Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:32 pm

ironhanglider wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 9:07 am
I presume that from an enforcement point of view there won't be police pulling people over to check that their helmet complies if it is being worn in a reasonably correct manner, but there may be a bit of insurance dodgery happening if someone acquires a head injury whilst wearing a 'non-approved' helmet regardless of whether an AS-2063 one would have performed any better.
Insurers being what they are will undoubtedly try to minimise any payments they make. IIRC the Supreme Court of NSW held in the case of a person not wearing a helmet that the [insurer] had to prove the extent to which the injury was worse than it would have been had he worn one. The efficacy of a helmet in any particular crash is very difficult to prove, more so if it's only that the rider was wearing the "wrong" helmet

Edit gee my memory still works. This is what I posted back in 2016
find_bruce wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:49 pm
As others have pointed out, a helmet that does not meet the Australian standard is regarded as no helmet at all. Yes you are unlikely to get caught, but if you do, you will be required to make a contribution to state revenue.

In NSW in relation to a collision involving a motor vehicle, a failure to wear a required helmet is contributory negligence - s138 (2)(d) Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 & this can reduce the damages that are payable.

The difficult part however for insurers is that the party alleging contributory negligence must prove that the failure to wear a helmet caused some of the plaintiff's injuries and the whole conduct of each negligent party must be taken into account in determining the extent of the contributory negligence.

To put it into simple terms, the insurer must prove that the cyclists injuries were worse than if the cyclist was wearing a helmet that had an Australian standards sticker.

This is difficult if the cyclist was not wearing a helmet because no helmet will protect from all injuries. It will be very difficult to prove in the case of an overseas helmet.

The issue has come up in NSW in the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal in Nominal Defendant v Rooskov [2012] NSWCA 43, where the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and was intoxicated (0.180 at the time of testing some time after the collision). The Court of Appeal found the judge was correct that the contributory negligence due to not wearing a helmet was 5% and that being intoxicated did not contribute to the accident at all.

Usual disclaimer applies: If you want legal advice, go to a lawyer. Don't rely on comments from some semi-anonymous poster on the interwebs.
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby find_bruce » Thu Mar 28, 2024 4:48 pm

familyguy wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 12:48 pm
My hazy memory from when I looked into this years ago was that the main difference is buckle types and strap widths, to cope with the additional test that the AS system required. Units were failing due to extension of the straps and pulling of ratchet type buckles.
This was the subject of a consultation paper by the ACCC which sumarised the differences between AS/NZS 2063, the European standard EN 1078 and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission bicycle helmet standard as being
  • The Australian Standard requires a ‘load distribution’ test of the helmet’s ability to evenly
    distribute the ‘load’ of an impact. EN and CPSC standards do not have this.
  • The Australian Standard requires that sample helmets pass multiple performance tests.
    The EN and CPSC standards allow separate helmets to be used for each test.
  • The Australian Standard requires a lower force inside the helmet during impact testing
    (250 g-force) whereas the EN and CPSC standards allow a higher force inside the
    helmet (300 g-force).
You're right that the difference in standards is the additional test required by the Australian standard, the result of which is buckle types & straps - I remember the straps being required to be stiffer not just wider - this is because of the additional requirement that after the cyclist has been hit in the head, "the straps which hold a helmet on a cyclist’s head must not stretch to the point so as to allow the helmet to come off".

It has never been explained to my satisfaction how this additional test represents a real world cycling crash, let alone a common mechanism.
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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby zebee » Fri Mar 29, 2024 4:34 pm

Some time ago the Australian Standards Org was disbanded and replaced by a private entity called SAA Global. This is why you have to pay to get a copy of standards these days. Because of this motorcycle helmet (and I presume bicycle helmet) testing was no longer done by the government lab but by accredited private companies.

I think about 5 years ago a motorcycle rider in South Oz was sitting on his parked bike, and the bike was knocked by a car. He and the bike fell, his head hit the ground (not sure if it was a kerb or not). The legal helmet with standards sticker he was wearing split open. He died of the head injury. Turns out the helmet was passed as meeting the standard by a company whose only other exposure to standards inspection for equipment was gardening gloves.

The coroner was rather scathing about it all, and a few pollies and public servants made noises but nothing else has changed.

Meaning that the idea that a standards mark on a helmet, especially a cheap helmet for a small market, means anything at all except someone paid money for a sticker... If anyone has issues with a court making noises about standards for helmets, I think the Australian Motorcycle Council has the details. MRASA probably does too.

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Re: Change in Australian Helmet Laws (other standards will become legal)

Postby AUbicycles » Sat Mar 30, 2024 4:49 am

ironhanglider wrote: Perhaps I missed it, but the announcement seemed to be that it will be legal (at some unspecified time) to sell helmets that meet other standards.

However the ability to wear helmets that meet other standards (in road related areas) will be subject to the various states and territories changing their legislation, which may or may not ever happen.
Some clarity, the law change needs to be enacted by each state and territory to be legal but with the underlying intention that it is then the same nationally. It is suggested that it would take about two years.

ironhanglider wrote:I presume that from an enforcement point of view there won't be police pulling people over to check that their helmet complies if it is being worn in a reasonably correct manner, but there may be a bit of insurance dodgery happening if someone acquires a head injury whilst wearing a 'non-approved' helmet regardless of whether an AS-2063 one would have performed any better.
In NSW a former MP (Duncan Gay) was pushing police operations to target bike riders and this was one details that was being checked. However in practice, this is usually never checked.

However it then becomes legally relevant in the case of injury or detail and for insurance. If the helmet is not compliant then a cyclist who is injured or killed could relinquish some or all rights.

Formerly, bicycle riders need to wear a helmet that is compliant according to the current laws in their state. The messy bit is when distributers and brands import helmets that not (yet) compliant across Australia. If Victoria has not endorsed the laws - I assume that it would not be legal to to sell these helmets until they are compliant.

Nice grey zone (which exists already for other laws) is cyclists who go interstate... but formerly they need to comply with the laws of the state.

g-boaf wrote:I’m sure I remember someone on here lecturing me that the same helmet with the AS sticker was far safer than another same model from overseas.
You know already that the Australian standards are not specifically safer, they just have different tests / requirements. You could then compare the helmet performance in different tests and have a better / poorer performer but in a collision there is a set of unique conditions and the 'results' of each helmets ability to protect the wearer can differ.

@find_bruce no doubt it is good to have standards but collisions will introduce unique circumstances.

However for the manufacture, in order to pass the test, they may have to change details. In a Kask vertigo helmet I purchased years ago, the Australian version had a slightly different design (holes). Sometimes the foam density needs to be adjusted in the Australian version so there can be a weight difference.

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