Customers sometimes ask us why we only sell selected brands of motorcycle helmets in our two shops. Our reasoning is simple. The Australian motorbike helmet market is in chaos. We cannot put our name to a brand of helmet we cannot 100% endorse.
This is not the same as saying ‘don’t bother with wearing helmets’. We wear our Standards Australia marked helmets everywhere we ride because we believe they offer the best protection.
The Current Status of the Australian Motorbike Helmet Market
The problem is the paperwork. Under the old rules administered by The Standards Association of Australia, and endorsed by Commonwealth helmets needed ‘five tick’ stickers on them verifying compliance with the standard. When the Standard Association ceded its turf to public company Standards Australia Ltd in 2003, this compulsory system was supposed to continue, but it did not,
Instead, Standards Australia issued a voluntary standard AS/NZS 1698:2006 which the Commonwealth never endorsed. According to the Motorcycle Council of NSW Inc., the system devalued to the extent it became a procedure to issue the sticker.
In 2012, the regulation of motorcycle helmets moved under the ambit of Australian Consumer Law 2011. This enforced standard AS 1698-1988 with some variations. We thought everything was hunk-dory when all states and territories adopted it, but that, unfortunately, was not the end of the story.
“There is not one helmet on the market that complies with the mandatory standard” according to the Motorcycle Council of NSW Inc. This does not mean there are no good motorcycle helmets in Australia. The Council may be exaggerating when it says, “riders buy a sticker with a helmet attached”.
Australian consumer law mandates suppliers sell helmets complying with standard AS 1698-1988 and its variations. There are severe penalties for selling helmets without the stickers. If the Motorcycle Council of NSW Inc. is correct, this does not necessarily mean all suppliers are selling helmets completely complying with the intention of the law.
The Compounding Problem of Directly Imported Helmets
Life Hacker reports Australia’s motorcycle rules, and the cost of certification deters international brands from introducing their latest designs. This has compounded the problem of some motorcyclists buying helmets on the internet that may, or may not be safe. We think they are taking a chance moving outside Australian consumer protection.
So Where Does That Leave Procycles and Its Customers?
We have a legal, and a moral responsibility to do everything we can to deliver quality and safety into the motorcycle market. We sell our BMW, Triumph, KTM, and Suzuki motorcycles in confidence. We know they manufacture them to the highest quality and assurance standards. The same goes for the brands of helmets we stock in our two shops at Hornsby and St Peters. We recommend the known brands and in particular BMW Motorrad’s own brand of helmet. Like everything BMW makes the quality is apparent, and BMW helmets set new standards in comfort and safety.