Get your head into new helmet standards

A helmet sitting on top of the box it was packed in

Protection: new helmet labelling laws come into effect soon.

There is no better protection and safety on the road in a car or on a bike than that of prudent avoidance. Cyclist are certainly vulnerable as we have very little protection in event of a fall particularly in side impact. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently reviewed its compliance position on bicycle helmets. From 13 December 2010 to 30 June 2011, bicycle helmets that meet the 1996 version AS/NZS 2063 or the Snell standard can be supplied if they meet the following requirements.
The bicycle helmet must comply with all mandated performance requirements of AS/NZS 2063:2008 (as varied)

Each helmet must be accompanied by a brochure or label that includes the following, word for word, in letters at least 2 mm high (latest change in bold italics):

  • No helmet can protect the wearer against all possible impacts.
  • The helmet is designed to be retained by a strap under the lower jaw.
  • To be effective, a helmet must fit and be worn correctly. To check for correct fit, place helmet on head and make any adjustments indicated. Securely fasten retention system. Grasp the helmet and try to rotate it to the front and rear. A correctly fitted helmet should be comfortable and should not move forward to obscure vision or rearward to expose the forehead.
  • No attachments should be made to the helmet except those recommended by the helmet manufacturer.
  • The helmet is designed to absorb shock by partial destruction of the shell and liner. This damage may not be visible. Therefore, if subjected to a severe blow, the helmet should be destroyed and replaced even if it appears undamaged.
  • The helmet may be damaged and rendered ineffective by petroleum and petroleum products, cleaning agents, paints, adhesives and the like, without the damage being visible to the user.
  • A helmet has a limited lifespan in use and should be replaced when it shows obvious signs of wear.
  • This helmet should not be used by children while climbing or doing other activities where there is a risk of hanging or strangulation if the child gets trapped while wearing the helmet.
Close up of the new cycle helmet label

Label: new helmets should bear the new label

Information must also be provided, in words (with letters no less than 2 mm high) and pictures, on the following:

Bicycle helmets need to be tested for the following performance requirements:

  • The helmet should not move on the head during normal use, resulting in obscured vision.
  • The helmet should significantly reduce force to the cyclist’s head upon impact.
  • The helmet should distribute the force of an impact.
  • The straps which hold a helmet on a cyclist’s head must stretch sufficiently to let the helmet come off in an accident.
  • A helmet’s peak must not move less than 6 mm during testing with a weight of 2 kg for 30 seconds. A peak is a permanent or detachable extension of the helmet above the eyes.

Each helmet must also be clearly marked so that the safety instructions are accessible without removal of the comfort padding or any permanent part of the helmet. Safety instructions must appear word for word as follows:

  • Bicycle helmet—NOT intended for use in motor sports or by motor cyclists.
  • Helmets can be seriously damaged by substances such as petrol, paint, adhesives, or cleaning agents.
  • Make no modifications.
  • Fasten helmet securely under the jaw.
  • If helmet shows signs of damage, destroy and replace it.
  • If helmet receives a severe blow, even if apparently undamaged, destroy and replace it.

A bicycle helmet is designed to offer protection to the cyclist’s head during impact. It features a shell, liner and a retention strap fitted along the lower jaw area. The helmet must consist of a means of absorbing impact energy, means of distributing load and a retention system. All components of the helmet must be permanently attached. Removable comfort pads are not considered to be part of the protective system.

Ask the questions of your supplier when purchasing a bike helmet does it meet today’s new standard, we have all bought a pair of shoe or clothing for our children with the view they will grow into fitting them.  In a fall loose fitting helmets could have devastating results be it for old or young. The frontal and side impacts are possibly the most common and hold the greatest risk to a rider’s health and well being. While helmets are a fashion statement of cycling we must have the right fit a higher priority than the look.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing


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