Tag Archives: Australian Road Rules

Slow road to motorcycle rider rule harmony

NSW and Western Australia remain the only two states to not yet implement new Australian Road Rules that would provide harmony across states on rider rules.

The rules, published in March 2018 by the Australasian Parliamentary Council’s Committee, involved the legality of helmet cameras, tinted visors, standing on the footpegs and other rules affecting riders.

The Australian Motorcycle Council had lobbied tirelessly for years behind the scenes for uniformity of these rules across the states.

However, the rules had to be implemented by State Regulatory Authorities.

Discordant harmony

Victoria and the ACT were the first to implement the rules in July 2018.

However, Victorian Police still persist with fining riders for having a helmet camera and the ACT added the amendment that helmet attachment mounts must be ‘frangible’ which means they break off in a crash.

Queensland followed in November 2018, while Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory followed last December.

Despite this apparent interstate harmony, there still remain variances in lane filtering rules, such as Queensland’s “edge-filtering” rule.

ker lane filtering edge edge filtering harmonyEdge filtering

AMC spokesman Brian Wood says Brian Wood believes NSW has been held up over the helmet attachment rules.

“The NSW Centre for Road Safety did some further oblique impact testing of cameras and communication devices on helmets about two years ago,” he says.

“They are yet to release the report. When I last asked about it in October, there were still some technical issues with the conclusions that needed to be resolved.

It is hoped that this testing will give some guidance on what type of mounting is acceptable.

In the meantime, the Centre for Road Safety is still saying it is legal to have a camera or communication device provided it is approved by the helmet manufacturer.”

The Centre told us they had completed three sets of tests on attachments fitted to motorcycle helmets:

The final series of tests were completed earlier last year. The results and recommendations from the tests are still being reviewed and a report is expected to be published this year.

Silly games

Wayne Carruthers exhaust helmets stickers regulations harmonyWayne Carruthers

Longtime helmet rule campaigner Wayne Carruthers says SA and Tasmania are playing “silly games” over helmet attachments.

Tasmania added another sub clause to the “good repair and proper working order and condition clause”.

He says they are trying to limit attachments to those recommended by the helmet manufacturers.

“That is completely unenforceable and absurd,” he says.

“The SA Rider Handbook link is even worse.”

In part it reads:

An “approved motor bike helmet” must also be in good repair and proper working order and conditions. Examples of a helmet that is in good repair and proper working order and condition are:

  • A helmet that is scratched or marked but the scratch or mark has not
    • Penetrated the helmet’s outer shell; or
    • Damaged the helmet’s retention system; or
    • damaged the helmet’s inner lining.
  • A helmet that is damaged to a degree that might reasonably be expected from the normal use of the helmet.

Wayne says these amendments override the attachment rule by referring to an old regulation that all the old stickers and certifications are still required.

“It’s the good old 1950s double standard.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are helmet attachments now legal?

More riders can now wear helmet cameras and bluetooth intercom attachments and fit tinted visors after South Australia joined the ACT in formal acknowledgement of 2015 changes to the Australian Road Rules (ARR).

That leaves Victoria as the only state where police have an issue with these attachments, although we have not heard of any recent fines.

It has never been an issue in Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory or Queensland where a former Police Minister actually encouraged helmet camera use for evidential reasons.

Australian Motorcycle Council Protective Clothing sub-committee chair Brian Wood says their advice from the NSW Centre for Road Safety is that cameras and communication devices are legal provided the helmet manufacturer approves their use.

“I’m not aware of anyone in NSW being booked for having a camera or communication device on their helmet for a couple of years,” Brian says.

Attachments legal

South Australian Ride to Review spokesman Tim Kelly says the state accepted their submission to accept the ARR.

Hew says it means the requirements for adherence to a helmet standard “become point-of-sale only”.

“This means helmet attachments will become legal, tinted visors will become legal and MX sun visors will become legal,” he says.

The only amendment to the ARR was the inclusion of a reference to a helmet being in good repair and proper working order and condition.

Rider warned

Confusion grows on on helmet attachments jail cameras
Eric Aria (Photo courtesy Channel 7)

In 2017, Adelaide rider Erica Aria went to the Sturt Police Station to submit video of drivers cutting him off in traffic but instead received an official warning for an “illegal helmet camera”.

The police said he could cop a $450 fine if he was caught again with the camera.

Eric has now welcomed the changes to the state rules.

“At least now people know if they can legally wear them or not and there’ll be no double standards with police wearing them and not the riders who genuinely need the camera for safety and insurance reasons,” he says.

Safety testing

Brian says the NSW Centre for Road Safety did some “oblique impact testing” at Crashlab several years ago on the effect of helmet attachments.

It has been suggested that they can rotate the rider’s head in a crash, causing neck injuries.

However, the Centre’s report on this testing is yet to be released.

“It should eventually be released, we just don’t know when,” Brian says.

The Centre told us they had completed three sets of tests on attachments fitted to motorcycle helmets:

The final series of tests were completed earlier this year.  The results and recommendations from the tests are currently been reviewed and a report is expected to be published in 2020.

Brian points out that in the ACT it is legal to have a camera or communication device on a helmet provided that the mount is ‘frangible’ which means it easily breaks off in a crash.

“What constitutes a frangible mount is not defined,” Brian says.

“Hopefully, the CfRS report will give guidance on this. 

The NSW Police wear cameras and communication devices on their helmets.

“I believe they have done their own oblique impact testing at Crashlab. They use a 3M product called Dual Lock. 

I believe Dual Lock was part of the CfRS testing. However, there are several versions of Dual Lock. I don’t know which one or ones have been tested.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Victory in void helmet sticker fine

Police have waived a Bribie Island rider’s $400/3point infringement for having a void helmet sticker in a test case that proves riders can legally remove the external sticker.

Ian Joice, 63, says he was pulled over by police on Bowen Rd, Glass House Mountains, on 12 August 2019 at 11.38am.

He says the officer noted the external sticker had the word VOID across it from age and sun damage while the internal label was faded due to wear.

Helmet fine void sticker
Internal label

A week later he received an infringement notice in the post for “fail to wear helmet”.

So he contacted Motorbike Writer after reading our article which advised riders that is legal to remove the external sticker.

Click there to read our full article.

We contacted Queensland Police to ask why an erroneous fine was issued and how many other similar fines had been issued.

They replied:

The infringement in this matter will be withdrawn. This is an isolated incident and the officer has been given guidance regarding the matter.

Ian was greatly relieved when we passed on the news of his fine waiver.

“I have been very distressed with this situation and am greatly relieved that the notice has been withdrawn,” he says.

“I have had some black days since the notice arrived.”

Australian Motorcycle Council helmet law expert Guy Stanford says he believes police are not aware of the rules and standards that apply to helmets.

Guy Stanford - Mobile phone while riding - darrk visor helmets tinted visor youtube withdrawn void
Guy Stanford

“This is a good result from a commonsense complaint,” he says. 

“The facts were clear, the rider had been issued a fine for an offence he did not commit.

“This sort of fraud reflects badly on all police.”

Void sticker

Guy says the external sticker on a motorcycle helmet is only an indication of compliance and not a legal requirement.

In fact, the Australian Road Rules and standards do not even mention an external sticker.

They only say the helmet has to be “permanently and legibly marked”.

“So long as the mark of certification appears somewhere on the helmet that’s all you need, which means the label inside,” Guy says.

AS/NZS 1698 external stickers show VOID due to fading in the sun or if they have been removed.Helmet fine void sticker

“This is only a manufacturer’s device to recommend to riders when they should update their helmet,” Guy says.

“It has nothing to do with any legal requirement and is not mentioned in the Australian Road Rules. There is no expiry date on motorcycle helmets.”

Ian says he didn’t realise his helmet was so old and has now spent the $400 he would have spent on paying the fine to buy a new helmet.

  • We suggest you keep a copy of this article and/or our previous article to show police if you are ever threatened with a similar erroneous fine.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com