Was hoping someone might be able to shed some light on requirements for helmets as most research I've done has come up pretty fuzzy.
My parents ordered a POC helmet for my wife as a gift, via Amazon Australia (not international) from a store with a nominally Australian name. Now the helmet does have a label saying it complies with the required AS/NZA 2063 standard (and it is a model sold here), however neither the box or the helmet have the Australian Standard sticker on it (the one with the ticks).
(For what it's worth, I have the same helmet for myself in a larger size which I bought from a brick & motor store, and it does have the sticker on it)
The seller is adamant that it is compliant, but I cannot find any information on the legality of helmets that are compliant but don't have the sticker. Even the government's own website says nothing about it (only that it needs a bunch of safety instructions like not using it for motorbikes, don't modify it, etc.)
So what's the actual position?
The government web site says you can get the standard (AS/NZS 2063:2008—Bicycle helmets) from SAI global store. However it appears to be mirrored at this site:
I've only quickly browsed it, but I can't see any mention that the sticker with the ticks is required. (Which surprised me, maybe someone will correct me).
The sticker is part of the standard. For more information https://www.productsafety.gov.au/standards/bicycle-helmets
Can you quote the relevant phrase or sentence? Maybe I'm missing something, I can't see any mention of the sticker there. (And I think Nathan couldn't find it either, which is what started this whole thread).
The section called 'Safety Markings' in the ACCC advice provides a list of what's required for it to be for sale and use in Australia. To get more detail you need to read the standard itself.
The ASNZ standard is not a 'self certification' standard like many others worldwide. They are batch tested by organisations here in Australia to meet the standard.
Exactly. I previously believed that the sticker was required, but can't find that documented any where (only information on motorcycle helmets as mentioned by Gemma).
I'm sure a fine for not having a sticker would be incredibly unlikely unless my wife somehow managed to really piss off a cop, but I'm a bit more concerned that if she was in an accident it would give any insurance an excuse to nope out.
The sticker is 'required', because:
Rule 256 The rider of a bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and
fastened on the rider's head, unless the rider is exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet
under another law of this jurisdiction.
For South Australia, see regulation 34 of the Road Traffic (Road Rules—Ancillary and
Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2014.
Approved bicycle helmet is defined in the dictionary
approved bicycle helmet means a protective helmet for bicycle riders that is approved, for the
Australian Road Rules, under another law of this jurisdiction.
For South Australia, see regulation 49 of the Road Traffic (Road Rules—Ancillary and
Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2014.
49—Approved bicycle helmets
For the purposes of the Rules and the definition of approved bicycle helmet in the
dictionary at the end of the Rules, helmets are approved bicycle helmets if approved
for bicycle riders under the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Regulations 2014.
(3) Helmets are approved for bicycle riders if they meet the impact attenuation
requirement of Australian Standard 2063.
(4) A person must not sell, or offer for sale, a helmet for use by a bicycle rider unless the
helmet meets the impact attenuation requirement of Australian Standard 2063.
Maximum penalty: $2 500.
..which is where I think it gets tricky. As to prove a helmet will meet the impact attenuation, it needs to have been from a tested batch of helmets from one of the accredited testing labs, the easy outcome of this for both the consumer and police is there is a permanent sticker affixed from the testing organisation (eg the red 'ticks' from SAI Global, white one from Benchmark etc, both clearly have serial numbers and state the compliance to the Standard and 'Certified Product'.) But the standard as you rightly point out is not available for the consumer to readily/freely access, to see the testing requirements and markings.
To get around this, this is likely why there's a mandatory trade practices standard based upon the voluntary Australian Standard. ie you don't need to read or understand the standard for helmets as you shouldn't have been able to buy a non-standard helmet!
It's a nice arrangement for the 'Australian'bicycle industry, or what's left of it - large importers/global businesses and chain department stores selling to a country with a unique standard, a mandatory consumer helmet law and a mandatory helmet law.
As long as they have an EU, UK or US standards sticker they should be allowed.
Unfortunately, we are behind the times on accepting any other countries safety standards where they met or exceed our own.
Slightly different case - but a personal one. I imported my car from the UK. Only to have it refused registration as the brake cables didn't have an AUS safety standard stamped on them. Didn't matter that they had the manufacturers UK safety standard stamped on them. In the end I had to replace them with AUS stamped ones. Funny thing was, after researching the safety testing regime, the UK was more stringent than Australia (in this case).
Motorcycle helmets are now allowed to be AS, AS/NZS, or UN ECE standard for legal use on Aussie roads. A great outcome for riders, as motorcycle helmets can be *really* expensive.
The ACCC undertook a review of same type of policy for bicycle helmets in 2016. I cannot see any outcome from same.
Obviously, not requiring batch testing locally would mean you could (or a local shop) could import (and legally sell) helmets, cheaper. Meaning greater competition and more choice of which helmet you wear on your head.
When POC helmets for bicycle use first became available some years ago I decided I really wanted one of the extra-speccy mtb ones with the extra protection around the temporal and occipital areas. They were available at various Euro on-line stores but fairly expensive. I rang the Australian POC agent and he explained that they were importing only the POC 'industrial' (fire-fighting etc), skiing, snow boarding and aviation helmets as it was simply far too expensive to get the POC bike helmets assessed for the Australian market (he talked in terms of $100Ks). It sounds like their position hasn't changed. For the record, I have a Specialised City helmet which I chose for what appeared (to me) to be good safety reasons but which has also not been 'approved' for the Australian market (for the same reasons). However I know that it is accepted widely in Europe which suits me. Not much help from an insurance p.o.v I know...
...you can buy that helmet in-store from the friendly crew at the Cycle Closet, Adelaide! Get shopping! ;)
The POC Tectal and POC Tectal Spin (their version of MIPS) are both in the country for legal sale.
The reason why the AS requirements are so expensive for high-end manufacturers is because the helmets are actually re-engineered for the Australia Market. They spend all their R&D on making the lightest helmet possible to meet their Euro or US standards, then they fail the AS standard. The models we end up with generally are heavier or thicker foam, have thicker/different straps and buckles, because the AS requirement is that the helmet goes through multiple sequential tests including on the webbing and has to pass all of them...
Shows how rarely I go into bike shops!!!