Helmet Road Rules
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Whatever it is, make sure it FITS YOUR HEAD.
About 10% of helmets come off in crashes. Fasten the strap.
Don’t buy a helmet you haven’t had on YOUR head.
Helmet fit is very important. More here
Helmets required by road rules are different in every State or Territory in Australia
This page is ONLY for NSW
NSW Road Rule 270 requires a rider, a pillion, a sidecar passenger to wear “an approved motor bike helmet”.
NSW “approval” is via the Trademarks of certain companies.
“approval” is not really about standards or safety of helmets.
“approval” is about labels and the meaning of that label.
It’s about the label on the INSIDE of your helmet, not an external sticker.
An external sticker may mean you don’t have to take the helmet off to show the one on the inside. An advertising convenience, that’s all.
Up until 5 February 2010, there were SIX labels you could have on your helmet
On 5 February 2010, NSW introduced a retrospective definition for “an approved motor bike helmet”. This created market chaos. Riders got fined. Small helmet importers suffered financially. So the then RTA had another go after protests.
Since 5 November 2010, there are only four labels permitted on helmets purchased after 31 March 2010.
Buy one of these stickers with a helmet attached and that’s how to comply with NSW Road Rule 270. These are fine protection.
If your head requires a helmet larger than 62 cm, since 28 September 2012 you can wear a different helmet, BUT there are conditions
- you need to carry a formal medical certificate
- the helmet must have labels showing it complies with any of
- European Reg ECE 22-05
- Japanese JIS T8133
- USA "DOT" (FMVSS-218)
You're also permitted to wear a helmet marked only by Snell, but we DO NOT recommend this for street use.
European helmets are lighter to reduce neck injury and basilar skull fracture, have excellent impact attenuation, greater test coverage area and a very sound certification process.
Japanese helmets are virtually identical to Australian, but with better impact attenuation (more restricted pulse width) and the most robust certification process of any.
US "DOT" helmets are almost the same as Australian, but with better impact attenuation (more restricted pulse width) and a certification process that places responsibility on the manufacturer (or importer) for compliance. Their recall system is regularly used, in market surveillance testing by NHTSA, backed by a legal system that punishes manufacturers who transgress.
These have labels like this:-
USA above right, on rear of helmet
Japanese below, on outer shell
The Japanese compliance system is very strong and the sticker is evidence that the insurance premium for a head injury has been paid for the wearer of that helmet (insured only if in Japan)
Definitely NOT recommended. While an ice-cream bucket with elastic under the chin might be handy for some things, for helmets to be truly useful, they need impact attenuation.
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- 1. File description: Retrospective Definition 5 Feb 2010 [509.9KB]
File name: Government_Gazette_5_February_2010_P_503.pdf
- 2. File description: 4 Labels only Definition 5 Nov 2010 [59.9KB]
File name: Government_Gazette_5_November_page_5402.pdf
- 3. File description: Big Head Exemption 28 Sept 2012 [124.3KB]
File name: Government-Gazette-28-September-2012_PP_4138_4139.pdf