Cheaper, safer helmets for all Aussies

Euro-approved Suomi D20 modular helmet is one of many that will now be legal to sell in Australia

International-standard helmets are now available for sale throughout Australia after the Federal Government changed the rules that made them illegal for sale, even though Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory have already made them legal to wear.

Now riders should be able to access a wider range of safer helmets.

They should also be cheaper because they don’t have to be tested and approved again in Australia, which adds costs to the helmet importer who passes that on to the buyer.

Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory had approved the use of European-approved (UNECE 22.05) helmets earlier this year.

However, our federal consumer laws did not allow the helmets to be sold in Australia – a ridiculous situation of bureaucratic stupidity.

In fact, NSW Transport Minister Duncan Gay recently said his government would only approve the use of the helmets, after the Federal Government and Australian Consumer and Competition Commission approve their sale by local retailers under rule Consumer Protection Notice 9 (CPN9).

“While I appreciate our neighbouring states have made changes to their own laws, it makes no sense to allow the wearing of helmets without fixing the retail side of it at a Commonwealth level – we need to enable helmets manufactured to the European Standard to be both worn and sold in NSW,” he said.

The minister predicted that would happen in “early 2016”.

Surprisingly, bureaucracy moved faster than that and the issue has been resolved by the Federal Government revoking Consumer Protection Notice No.9.

That means UNECE 22.05 helmets are now legal for manufacturers to import to Australia.

There is now no longer any excuse for Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and NSW to approve UNECE 22.05 helmets.

While the consumer law change is good news for riders, longtime helmet advocate Wayne Caruthers says the notice should have been accompanied by a statement from the Federal Government that they would ensure the road use standards were included in the Australian Road Rules to keep it to one standard nationwide.

It seems the ACCC has actually been turning a blind eye to the problem, according to Italian-made Suomy helmet importer Robert Ferrington.

“We have been moving quite a few ECE helmets with full knowledge of the ACCC,” he says.

“As it stands the ACCC will neither prosecute nor give us a leave pass until the law is amended in January.”