Login to VeloClub|Not a member?  Sign up now.
July 28, 2017
July 27, 2017
July 26, 2017
July 25, 2017
Giant Rev helmet
  • Jimbo

    I will continue to train and race wearing my Giro Aeon. It find it insane that a halmet half the pro peleton are wearing does not meet Australian standards.

    • LanterRouge

      I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the Aeon should pass the Australian standards, but until the local Giro importer/distributor decides to have the Aeon tested/certified (or for that matter, decide to sell the Aeon in Australia), we’re out of luck as far as sourcing Giro’s top-of-the-range helmet locally. And yes, I agree with you wrt it being good enough for the pro peleton, thus good enough for my noggin!

      • Craig

        The Aeon may pass but I’m not sure all top of the range helmets do pass our standards.
        For instance when I bought a Specialized Prevail some I time back I noticed it was different to those advertised and the ones worn in the Pro peloton. It seems Prevails sold in Oz dont have the extra vent on either side of the helmet behind your ears.

        So I’ve assumed that some changes needed to be made to meet our standards.

        • jules

          I suspect that will be due to the Aus-specific “karate chop” test, as described in the article. If the vents leave too big a gap, the “karate chop” will penetrate the helmet and strike the headform -> fail. In practice, this is to guard against impacts with sharp objects.

          I would agree this test technically helps provide superior protection, but in practice, what are the risks?

          • so, are all helmets made to Snell, BS & EN standard (and that do not meet the more stringent AU/NZS standard) not as ‘safe’ as AU/NZS models and therefore increase the likelyhood of the wearer suffering an injury or death under the same crash circumstances?

            Should consumers in the US, UK and Europe now be vociferously demanding that helmet standards in their markets be revised to match/exceed those in AU?

            • jules

              just because a helmet is certified to a tougher standard than another, does not make it safer. the helmet certified to the ‘weaker’ standard may still surpass the standard by a margin that provides greater protection to its wearer than the one certified to the tougher standard.

              in practice, a key difference between the Australian and overseas helmet standards is the “karate chop” test. in the event of you hitting a sharp object – at the location on an overseas certified helmet which would fail that requirement of the Australian standard (noting that non-certification to the Australian standard doesn’t necessarily mean it would fail) – then yes, that overseas helmets would increase the likelihood of you suffering a more serious injury.

              if that all sounds a bit unlikely or over-the-top, then you may start to question the need for a bespoke Australian Standard :)

            • jules

              just because a helmet is certified to a tougher standard than another, does not make it safer. the helmet certified to the ‘weaker’ standard may still surpass the standard by a margin that provides greater protection to its wearer than the one certified to the tougher standard.

              in practice, a key difference between the Australian and overseas helmet standards is the “karate chop” test. in the event of you hitting a sharp object – at the location on an overseas certified helmet which would fail that requirement of the Australian standard (noting that non-certification to the Australian standard doesn’t necessarily mean it would fail) – then yes, that overseas helmets would increase the likelihood of you suffering a more serious injury.

              if that all sounds a bit unlikely or over-the-top, then you may start to question the need for a bespoke Australian Standard :)

      • Craig

        The Aeon may pass but I’m not sure all top of the range helmets do pass our standards.
        For instance when I bought a Specialized Prevail some I time back I noticed it was different to those advertised and the ones worn in the Pro peloton. It seems Prevails sold in Oz dont have the extra vent on either side of the helmet behind your ears.

        So I’ve assumed that some changes needed to be made to meet our standards.

  • I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad that due to the difference in test standards here, we don’t get the latest and greatest helmets from certain major manufacturers…..

  • Helmet cost more than my bike

    Doesn’t explain why helmet X costs an extra 1-150$ locally with a sticker. I assumed that the compliance costs were a lot higher than $2500 given the price difference locally. Another example of the great Aussie price gouge.

    • purpletezza

      The helmet supplier charges more because they can. Due the perception that a compliant helmet must be worn in Australia this makes the Australian market unique and so this means that the helmet supplier will charge more than in another country. When I raced few years ago Cycling Australia stated in it’s rules that a compliant helmet must be worn for insurance purposes. As soon as a consumer is forced to buy a particular product the supplier naturally jacks up the price as high as they think they can get away with.

    • purpletezza

      The helmet supplier charges more because they can. Due the perception that a compliant helmet must be worn in Australia this makes the Australian market unique and so this means that the helmet supplier will charge more than in another country. When I raced few years ago Cycling Australia stated in it’s rules that a compliant helmet must be worn for insurance purposes. As soon as a consumer is forced to buy a particular product the supplier naturally jacks up the price as high as they think they can get away with.

  • Kim Gralton’s comment “If it went to court and you were found to not be wearing a helmet, or not wearing an approved helmet, the case is all over right there. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve seen it happen” is ridiculous.

    As a lawyer and a cyclist, there’s absolutely no foundation to this remark. Breaches of an Australian Standard does not automatically equate to negligence; Chicco v Corporation Of The City Of Woodville, [1990] ATR 81-028.

    If the breach is found to have caused or contributed to the injury, then a breach of the AS may be considered but not merely because a breach arose, but if the consequence of the breach was material the extent of the loss.

    It would be difficult (although, not impossible) to prove that a head injury would have been avoided or reduced if an AS helmet was used instead of a non-AS one.

    • IF

      As another cyclist and lawyer (we all have our problems in life…..), I’ll reinforce the comment made by Peter. That comment by Kim Gralton (“the case is all over right there…”) is a completely inaccurate statement of the law.

      • lefthandside

        I should add that it in a claim against an insurer it ~may~ be ‘all over’ depending on the terms of the insurance contract – you should understand the terms of your insurance and not make assumptions about the extent of your cover

        • jules

          people get confused about helmet rules. it is actually just a road rule – no different to failing to give way or indicate, etc. there have actually been reported cases of motor insurance companies including conditions in their policies that failure to comply with road rules voids their liability, which has raised the ire of fair trading bodies – as coverage for mistakes is the point of having insurance.

          suing another party for civil damages is different. you need to prove negligence on their part. the thing about helmet standards is that they can really only impact on the severity of injury incurred by you (as the cyclist). but in Victoria at least, you can’t sue motorists for injuries – they are covered by TAC 3rd party injury insurance. this insurance is also “no blame” – which means negligence does not mitigate the insurer’s liability.

          the most common grounds (or the only?) on which to sue a motorist with whom you collided is for property damage. helmet standards would have little impact on any such claim.

    • TDB

      I believe he meant you’d lose the support of your insurer to fund the litigation.

  • Steel

    Call me a cynic, but I’m deeply suspicious that the differences included in the Aus standard are purely for local industry protectionism. There should be serious efforts made to harmonise helmet standards with other countries (probably not Vietnam, but maybe UK, US) so that Australians have access to a global market and the advantages of economies of scale that brings.

    • Anonymous

      Or that the value of the Australian market isn’t large enough for manufacturers to justify expanding ranges of helmets. There are loads of retail markets which suffer from a reduced range compared to Europe and the US where no such standard prohibits the product. More likely is that testing labs had a hand in the standards than any local industry protecting itself.

    • seen too much

      Not that i’d know, but I wonder if it goes something like this:

      John, Senior mgt type with poor understanding of topic: “Fred, we need a standard for helmets sold in Australia”

      Fred (technically knowledgeable employee): “Sure John, I’ll set up a committee and develop one that we can proudly call our own, I’ll put that achievement on my CV, and enjoy many junkets in the course of meetings and workshops necessary to agree on the standard. In the meantime, I’ll come across as a very busy and indispensable employee, and my standing here will improve out of sight. We could probably just pick up an international standard which would save consumers $millions in aggregate through reduced helmet prices, but we would be forgoing the aforementioned benefits.”

      John: “Aren’t those benefits accumulating to you, personally? Are you sure that’s justified?”

      Fred: “I knew you’d say that John. What I’ll do is take the most stringent overseas standard, then add an even more stringent test. This will make the Australian standard the most stringent in the world. Anyone who opposes will then automatically be deemed a baby-killer.”

      John: “I think you’re full of it Fred, but I guess that’s checkmate. Off you go then.”

      • I have sat on standards committees for Australian standards and can tell you your view is totally wrong. Firstly, they are made up of technical experts from the industry they are looking at, its not one person. A committee is set up and meeting held every few months to discuss relevant point or put proposals out for comment to the rest of the industry e.g. pass marks, test methods . Normally those sitting on the committee do so voluntarily, to improve the standard, and to help the relevant industry, its not a junket, you dont benefit in the slightest personally. My company sits on them as we are a major supplier so want to have an input in what happens so our products may meet the requirements but its no benefit to my career, in fact its quite boring at times.
        As foir international standards then in many cases no you cant. For example, US or European standards may call for testing at -20 degrees as the product mat experience that, but in Australia its not relevant. A lot of tests will also use local raw material e.g. a specific species of timber or a local construction method. So the ideas may be similar but they are usually adapted to the local area the item will be used in.

        • I appreciate that, but we also need to recognize that having our own unique legal standards for products is also a classic non-tariff barrier to free trade.

          And free trade in goods and services, more often than not, reduces costs to the consumer, as most of us have been madly exploiting when ordering all sorts of goodies from Wiggle and the like at substantially lower costs than our LBS.

          You can make the case on something like house construction that Australian conditions – and even specific regions of Australia – are sufficiently unique that we need our own standards. But I don’t see that there’s anything particularly unique about Australian heads and things that they might hit that explains why we need our own standard if international ones are adequate to protect the heads of their own citizens.

          So, therefore, the question is whether the international standards for helmets, such as the EU ones, are sufficiently inferior so as to justify having special rules.

        • I appreciate that, but we also need to recognize that having our own unique legal standards for products is also a classic non-tariff barrier to free trade.

          And free trade in goods and services, more often than not, reduces costs to the consumer, as most of us have been madly exploiting when ordering all sorts of goodies from Wiggle and the like at substantially lower costs than our LBS.

          You can make the case on something like house construction that Australian conditions – and even specific regions of Australia – are sufficiently unique that we need our own standards. But I don’t see that there’s anything particularly unique about Australian heads and things that they might hit that explains why we need our own standard if international ones are adequate to protect the heads of their own citizens.

          So, therefore, the question is whether the international standards for helmets, such as the EU ones, are sufficiently inferior so as to justify having special rules.

          • Nice shoes

            And I object to describing Australia as a “world leader” in this area just because we were the first to implement pointless mandatory helmet laws and a completely unnecessary set of standards.

            I mean, Ukraine was the first country to have a major nuclear meltdown but that doesn’t make them “world leaders” in nuclear technology.

          • Anonymous

            We also need to recognise the standards should reflect our learnings. Was the load distribution test driven by genuine medical evidence to show improved likelihood of reduced injury in crashes? If so was Australia the most recent to review their standards and consider this evidence at the same time?

            It is fair to assume the committee considered the international codes, then reconciled with the evidence they had on hand to consider if there was significant evidence to justify the proposed code.

            Let not lose sight of the fact a helmet is safety instrument intended to reduce the likelihood of injury after an accident, not an accessory for a cyclists.

          • Anonymous

            We also need to recognise the standards should reflect our learnings. Was the load distribution test driven by genuine medical evidence to show improved likelihood of reduced injury in crashes? If so was Australia the most recent to review their standards and consider this evidence at the same time?

            It is fair to assume the committee considered the international codes, then reconciled with the evidence they had on hand to consider if there was significant evidence to justify the proposed code.

            Let not lose sight of the fact a helmet is safety instrument intended to reduce the likelihood of injury after an accident, not an accessory for a cyclists.

        • seen too much

          Neil, believe me, I am well acquainted with the standards process. My post was satirical, it wasn’t meant to describe the process in whole. But you need to take the rose-tinted glasses off. Sure, industry members are represented. But they are often locally-based members who have a vested interest in promoting what Robert accurately identifies as “non-tariff barrier to free trade”. In other words, locking out international competitors who are at arm’s length to what’s brewing here in Australia with technical regulations.

          My post was aimed more at the non-industry representatives on standards. These people typically have a very poor understanding of economic impacts, and focus on the technical/academic aspects of the standard. Developing “the most stringent standard in the world” is a wet dream for some of these people, who have no idea what “non-tariff barrier to free trade” means, nor frankly do they necessarily care. They become useful idiots (even with an off-the-scale IQ).

          Your example of irrelevant overseas test requirements is a good case in point. It is simple to develop an Australian standard which applies overseas ones, while exempting irrelevant provisions, such as -20 degrees performance. What they’ve done with the helmet standard is prevent helmets that pass the unnecessary standard from being sold here! How is that justified? It is not.

          • Anonymous

            Can someone demonstrate this local industry protectionism? Who exactly participated in the standard with a vested local interest and how did they manipulate the outcomes of the standard? If so what clauses included are not based on appropriate theoretical principles and intended to shut down free trade?

            Also can someone demonstrate that Australian testing costs are significantly higher to be disproportional to our marketplace? And at what point do you, the consumer, not benefit from the standard in terms of helmet safety outcomes?

            • seen too much

              The whole standard has the effect of impeding free trade. As I understand it, certification must be done against the AS – if a manufacturer has complied with the US ANSI standard, for example, that counts for nothing, even though that standard may have many substantially similar requirements.
              You must appreciate that this is a barrier, beyond whether the Australian Standard is tougher. It means that overseas helmet makers must cut through red tape before being able to export their helmets to Australia. As we are a small market, many manufacturers don’t bother. A quick check of Wiggle or other major overseas online bike shops will verify this.
              If you can’t identify that as protectionism, I can’t help you.

              • Anonymous

                If you perceive Standards as protectionism, then you have taken free
                market theory beyond the realm of current international regulation. Why not reduce standards on materials to improve
                access to imported lower grade materials for construction? Why have factor of safety levels in design of public infrastructure – we could deliver infrastructure for cheaper? We are a first world country and there are expectations that consumers and the public have in the products they purchase.

                Standards exist to provide a standard level of service / performance / expectation from a product or service. Regardless of if we removed the Australian Standard, do we then put it in the hand of the consumer to consider the standard the product was tested for and confirm its appropriate for their conditions? Do we expect consumers to update their knowledge of head trauma regularly to ensure their needs and expectations are met from their products?

                The fact manufacturers don’t bother is unfortunate, but the outcomes and expectations from helmets is high. This product is intended to reduce the likelihood of head trauma in the event of a probable accident. The process of evaluating a helmets effectiveness in reducing the likelihood of injury in a variety of probable failure events is significant and requires diverse knowledge pools across a range of industries.

                Why are we more stringent than other international codes? Great question. No one has actually attempted to identify the science behind the load distribution test and the outcomes for safety. Merely writing it off as protectionism because you cant buy a Giro helmet for cheaper from Wiggle though is flat out ignoring the purpose of the standard.

                • seen too much

                  You’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent, defending the need for a helmet standard. That isn’t at issue – rather, the question is – which standard should we adopt?

                  Any standard must, as the name implies, set a standard – a line in the sand, below which a product fails. The challenge is to draw that line at the appropriate point, accounting for factors including safety, but also affordability and consumer choice. Merely drawing the line to require as high a level of safety as possible is not good practice.

                  This leads back to issues such as “the science behind the load distribution test” – i.e. is it really necessary? In my experience – and I have had no direct involvement in the helmet standard specifically – the public has a tendency to significantly overestimate the degree of scientific research and rigour which goes into setting such standards. Often it’s a case of little more than “this is a good idea!” and in one fell swoop – denying Australians access to a range of perfectly safe overseas products.
                  There is little chance of rolling the standard back – I had a commissaire asking us at a race start “So, who’s got one of those cheap import helmets?” He meant a non-AS certified helmet. I felt like pointing out that everyone was most likely wearing a cheap import – some just came with a higher price tag (the ones with an AS sticker).

                  • Anonymous

                    If the science behind the load distribution test is sound, and lets be honest it likely is as the entire point of a helmet is to absorb load and improved load distribution would improve impact area on a skull, then shouldnt the question be – why don’t manufacturers agree to the standard if the safety outcomes are improved or, when other countries come to review their standards, why didn’t they adopt our standard test? Someone is responsible for safety when a helmet is sold, do you want it to be the manufacturer or a external regulatory body?

                    If you have evidence that the science is not sound then I suggest you demonstrate it. If you have evidence that AS2306 does not produce an improved safety outcome compared to international codes then demonstrate it. If you can demonstrate that the safety outcomes are so prohibitive that consumers cant access appropriately priced helmets compliant to the standard than do so. You cant just pick apart regulation because you cant buy the helmets the pros wear as cheap as US or UK consumers without a valid discussion of the outcomes of the science applied.

                    You can go right now, buy a helmet from 7-11 for a fiver and have what may be one of the most internationally certified safe helmets. At what point have you been denied anything? Your beef is with the manufacturers for not coming to the party not the standards committee.

                    • seen too much

                      Of course there is evidence consumers are being denied access to helmets – just look at what’s for sale on Wiggle. If I’m understanding you, you’re arguing that’s not a problem as they can just buy a 7-11 helmet or other AS-compliant model.

                      I get the strong feeling that you’re not grasping the concept of free trade and its benefits. Of course a 7-11 helmet is cheap and safe. But we live in a free country, where people like to spend $300 on a Specialised or similar. By promoting the current standard, you’re effectively deciding on their behalf that they may not do so (purchase non-AS helmets), on the grounds that they would be making a mistake by purchasing an ‘unsafe’ helmet.

                      We’ve already gone a long way down this patriarchal road by mandating the wearing of helmets (which I’m OK with, for the record). But now we’ve gone further by specifying a narrow range of helmets which are deemed acceptable, and excluding a large number which are deemed as safe overseas.

                      I’m often cynical of people throwing the term ‘nanny state’ around with abandon, to describe any regulation they don’t like, but I think in this case it’s appropriate. It’s just well overboard.

                    • Steel

                      You’ve got it around the wrong way. You should only impose standards where you have evidence of a problem.

                      It’s like introducing a requirement for everyone to ride around in pink blazers on the off chance that might reduce crashes. Pink blazers are bright, and people might pay more attention to pink riders no? Ahhh no. You need to demonstrate that this improves road safety, not just making yourself feel better about a perceived risk.

                      Also the world trade organisation exists to remove technical barriers to trade. Australia has obligations under agreements to the WTO and needs to be able to demonstrate why it can justify unique local standards. How could they possibly justify this position?

                    • Anonymous

                      The purpose of the helmet is to provide reduced risk of injury occurring from an accident. Evidence of a problem exists in that we could further reduce the likelihood of injuries. The performance based standard is more stringent and comprehensive in ensuring that the factors involved in injuries are measured and reduced.

                      Asking a citizen to do something and asking a manufacturer to do something are two different things. Also we could easily identify that wearing pink blazers improve visibility and that lack of visibility was a significant factor in a statistically significant number of crashes – and as such is likely to be a real risk as opposed to a perceived risk. Evidence of this can be found in many police reports on vehicle and cyclist collisions.

                      Also I suggest you read the WTO Agreements, the WTO’s Technical Barriers to Trade agreement states that “the agreement also recognizes
                      countries’ rights to adopt the standards they consider appropriate — for
                      example, for human, animal or plant life or health, for the protection of the
                      environment or to meet other consumer interests” which it is likely that a safety instrument such as a helmet would be considered within that scope.

                    • seen too much

                      “Evidence of a problem exists in that we could further reduce the likelihood of injuries.”

                      This is not the objective of a mandatory standard, which is to set a *minimum* permissible standard of protection provided by any helmet supplied to market. You seem to be confusing the objective as setting the *maximum* possible standard. That’s not the role of regulatory standards.
                      Apply your thinking to speed limits – is 20 km/h safer than 40, 50, 100 km/h? Of course it is. But we don’t set all the roads to a 20 km/h limit.

              • Anonymous

                If you perceive Standards as protectionism, then you have taken free
                market theory beyond the realm of current international regulation. Why not reduce standards on materials to improve
                access to imported lower grade materials for construction? Why have factor of safety levels in design of public infrastructure – we could deliver infrastructure for cheaper? We are a first world country and there are expectations that consumers and the public have in the products they purchase.

                Standards exist to provide a standard level of service / performance / expectation from a product or service. Regardless of if we removed the Australian Standard, do we then put it in the hand of the consumer to consider the standard the product was tested for and confirm its appropriate for their conditions? Do we expect consumers to update their knowledge of head trauma regularly to ensure their needs and expectations are met from their products?

                The fact manufacturers don’t bother is unfortunate, but the outcomes and expectations from helmets is high. This product is intended to reduce the likelihood of head trauma in the event of a probable accident. The process of evaluating a helmets effectiveness in reducing the likelihood of injury in a variety of probable failure events is significant and requires diverse knowledge pools across a range of industries.

                Why are we more stringent than other international codes? Great question. No one has actually attempted to identify the science behind the load distribution test and the outcomes for safety. Merely writing it off as protectionism because you cant buy a Giro helmet for cheaper from Wiggle though is flat out ignoring the purpose of the standard.

        • Anonymous

          On the other hand… a company I “know quite well” was heavily involved in the committee to develop and implement an Australian Standard for the product they manufacture.

          The technical experts they sent – quite legitimate experts in the field – were well aware that if one of the existing foreign standards were implemented (European, American, British, Japanese etc.), that would give a free kick to any potential importer who already had a product certified for those markets, and would be a massive disadvantage to themselves, who had previously not had to go through any certification process.

          The standard that was eventually produced by the committee process is non-compulsory, and is quite impractical to meet across a broad range of part numbers (it relates to spare parts to fit a very wide range of machines, each part being specific to the machine). It is universally ignored in the industry.
          From the perspective of the manufacturer in question, that was the second best possible outcome… the best outcome, of course, being a unique local standard that would help to disadvantage small importers.
          Standards committees can be, and are, used (abused) in this way. To pretend that it doesn’t happen is unrealistic.

    • On the contrary, why shouldn’t Australia try to push world standards to a higher level? Any manufacturer wanting to sell here either has to make an Australian-specific model, or sell the Australian-compliant model world wide.

      We lead the world in other areas like plain packaging for cigarettes too.

    • On the contrary, why shouldn’t Australia try to push world standards to a higher level? Any manufacturer wanting to sell here either has to make an Australian-specific model, or sell the Australian-compliant model world wide.

      We lead the world in other areas like plain packaging for cigarettes too.

      • jules

        in the 1970s, Australian new vehicle design standards were developed with that philosophy in mind. a poo-box Renault cost the equivalent of a 5 series BMW today, and you packed worry beads when taking aussie-made cars for a long drive.

        that’s why not.

  • Another interesting element to the whole standards debate now is that a certain European based online retailer withdrew helmets form their range for a few months (presumably for some of the reasons outlined above) and has now resumed selling a limited range of helmets, this time with Aus/NZ stickers in them – not sure what the mechanism is behind this and what the air miles on the helmets would be by the time they end up in Australian customers’ hands.

    • jules

      this probably explains why my Wiggle-sourced helmet got upgraded to business class last time I flew, but I was stuck in cattle.

  • Another interesting element to the whole standards debate now is that a certain European based online retailer withdrew helmets form their range for a few months (presumably for some of the reasons outlined above) and has now resumed selling a limited range of helmets, this time with Aus/NZ stickers in them – not sure what the mechanism is behind this and what the air miles on the helmets would be by the time they end up in Australian customers’ hands.

  • facefull

    The cost of Australian testing is often mentioned as the reason we pay more for helmets. This doesn’t quite work out when Rosebank can sell basic (unsubsidised) helmets for $25 at Kmart. For both Kmart and Rosebank to make a profit, the cost of testing cannot be more than $25. With helmet testing run per batch, unless the batch size is pretty/very small, then the “cost of testing” argument is bunk.

  • facefull

    The cost of Australian testing is often mentioned as the reason we pay more for helmets. This doesn’t quite work out when Rosebank can sell basic (unsubsidised) helmets for $25 at Kmart. For both Kmart and Rosebank to make a profit, the cost of testing cannot be more than $25. With helmet testing run per batch, unless the batch size is pretty/very small, then the “cost of testing” argument is bunk.

    • jules

      I think you’ll find that the import barriers the Australian Standard represents is a more influential factor in why we pay more – it reduces competition by discouraging/preventing the supply of non-AS certified helmets to Australia, allowing the suppliers of certified models to name their own price. “what are you gonna do – go and buy a non-certified one? hahahaha” (I made that last quote up, but you get the gist)

    • jules

      I think you’ll find that the import barriers the Australian Standard represents is a more influential factor in why we pay more – it reduces competition by discouraging/preventing the supply of non-AS certified helmets to Australia, allowing the suppliers of certified models to name their own price. “what are you gonna do – go and buy a non-certified one? hahahaha” (I made that last quote up, but you get the gist)

  • facefull

    The cost of Australian testing is often mentioned as the reason we pay more for helmets. This doesn’t quite work out when Rosebank can sell basic (unsubsidised) helmets for $25 at Kmart. For both Kmart and Rosebank to make a profit, the cost of testing cannot be more than $25. With helmet testing run per batch, unless the batch size is pretty/very small, then the “cost of testing” argument is bunk.

  • dcaspira

    Great article Matt,
    Something else I’ve been trying to find out; If riding around France, eg following the Tour, can you wear your Australian approved Helmet and not be negligent on their roads, or do you have to wear an EU helmet (given our high standards)

    Wondering if you came across this sort of discussion in your research?

    • Paolo

      It all ends with the fact that you don’t have to wear a helmet in France.

  • paolo

    Without the awesome sticker the helmet that Cancellara wore in Paris-Roubaix is just not safe on Aussie roads. Simple as that, Nanny state 101.

    • No, it’s not PROVEN to be safe. That’s not nanny state.

      • Paolo

        Not PROVEN? I could ride an essay about what a test does PROVE and what not depending on the assumptions made, but that would be a waste of time. Australia is the biggest nannys state i have lived in in the last few decades. PROVEN by my experiences.

        • That’s interesting (actually not really) but irrelevant. The standards require the helmet to be proven to be safe. Standards work this way in any field in any country – a manufacturer must demonstrate that a product is compliant.

        • That’s interesting (actually not really) but irrelevant. The standards require the helmet to be proven to be safe. Standards work this way in any field in any country – a manufacturer must demonstrate that a product is compliant.

        • What about the motorist test, fill in a log book take a competency test with your self employed instructor who relies on word of mouth to stay in business. IS THIS PROVEN TO BE SAFE ? Never seen so many crash repairs till I moved here. Think I’ll stick with my European approved helmet. Just another revenue earner, I can’t believe Australia’s standards are higher than the UK’s!

          • Neverclimbed32

            “I can’t believe Australia’s standards are higher than the UK’s!”
            Look at our women !

  • Alex Hinds

    Is there evidence that there are increased/more severe head injuries with non-Australian standard helmets?

  • Alex Hinds

    Is there evidence that there are increased/more severe head injuries with non-Australian standard helmets?

    • jules

      no. if you read helmet efficacy studies, you’ll see that even measuring the effects of mandating helmet wearing itself is very difficult – as evidenced by the wide variety of conclusions on the matter, with the major influencing factors appearing to be methodology. they’re just isn’t the quality of data to drill down to the detail you’re querying.

      your next question may be.. “so how did they justify prohibiting the wearing of non-Australian standard helmets?” good luck getting a sensible answer to that.

  • Oakie

    Ok, to further muddy the waters – does ‘meeting Australian Standards’ mean the same as ‘Carrying an AS/NZ standard sticker?
    If I Buy a Giro Atmos in the UK, it is exactly the same helmet as the Giro Atmos sold here, but doesn’t carry a sticker. So does that mean its not certified? The helmet has passed the standards in order to be sold here, so how is this viewed in the eyes of the law/race organiser…?

    • I was wondering that as well and spoke to a friend in
      Standards Australia in regards to the interpretation.

      “As the helmet cannot be linked back to a batch which has proceed
      through the accreditation process it cannot be assured that it has met the
      testing standard and as such is not legal here.”

      Basically it can be the same helmet, but unless it’s a batch
      certified as having been tested it is considered to have not met the standard.

    • I was wondering that as well and spoke to a friend in
      Standards Australia in regards to the interpretation.

      “As the helmet cannot be linked back to a batch which has proceed
      through the accreditation process it cannot be assured that it has met the
      testing standard and as such is not legal here.”

      Basically it can be the same helmet, but unless it’s a batch
      certified as having been tested it is considered to have not met the standard.

    • jules

      the standard itself actually requires the AS sticker to be affixed to a given helmet. so although the sticker does nought to protect your head in a crash, its absence alone is sufficient to render the helmet non-compliant.

      regardless, in practice no sticker will be taken as evidence of non-compliance. good luck trying to argue that it’s the same helmet as otherwise certified.

    • “it is exactly the same helmet as the Giro Atmos sold here”. You actually don’t know that for sure.

    • “it is exactly the same helmet as the Giro Atmos sold here”. You actually don’t know that for sure.

      • oakie

        No that is true – but it defies logic for a company to produce 2 nearly identical helmets with say, a different density/type grade of material, then sold as the same model. When writing the post above I did consider the implications of different manufacturing locations such as SE Asia for the Au market and elsewhere for Europe, but cant see that as a viable option for a manufacturer.

      • oakie

        No that is true – but it defies logic for a company to produce 2 nearly identical helmets with say, a different density/type grade of material, then sold as the same model. When writing the post above I did consider the implications of different manufacturing locations such as SE Asia for the Au market and elsewhere for Europe, but cant see that as a viable option for a manufacturer.

  • Hubbard

    Another good article. Thanks!

  • Marcus

    Interestingly, or not, Triathlon Australia allows for overseas helmets to be used during races, the wording is something like “helmets approved by a national body”. Presume they get away with this because the race is on closed roads. No good for training however – but then again, if you train in an aero helmet you have bigger problems than lack of a sticker on the inside.

    • DSC

      As a competent legal researcher, I looked into this very issue after discussions about Melbourne Ironman. The relevant Government Gazette for road rules, road closures, permits etc to run the event, stated (in effect) that competitors were exempt from all Road Rules during the race, except two. One of those was that they were not exempt from wearing an Aust standard approved helmet.

      • DSC

        Vic Govt Gazette: GG2012 S095 page 2 refers: the exemption applies to “All Road Rules except for road rules 264 to 266 (inclusive) wearing of seatbelts for drivers and passengers and road rule 256 wearing of bicycle helmets.”
        Interestingly, this exception doesn’t appear in the GG for the 2013 event (GG2013 S101)
        Competitors would need to check each year!

  • noggin

    Sorry, but what is the point on each country funding their own ‘helmet testing service’ – particularly when there is already an international standard?

    Sounds like a waste of money to me, and an opportunity for people to exploit it financially (local suppliers) legally (any incident involving a non – AU helmet) not to mention pedantically (that bloke at the race start line looking for stickers)

    It’s just like child seats and other ‘safety’ devices here in Aus. Why do we have to make it so hard for ourselves?

  • echidna_sg

    there is a lot more on this subject beyond a cheap helmet offers the same protection as an expensive one – price, weight, looks, ventilation are just the start of it. There are those who still wear a helmet after it being in a crash and cracking.

    the prevail is a great example of a helmet that passes the tests (great) but can’t survive a fall off a kitchen chair to the floor without cracking the foam in multiple places (3 independent stories of this so far). All three owners have continued to ride with the damaged helmet as it still looks good on the outside shell and was/is near new when it happened. super light and has a sticker doesn’t make it safe forever!

    then there are stories in years gone by of overseas pros (specifically in triathlon) popping into a local bike shop to “borrow” a sticker for their identical but overseas sourced helmet.

  • Ghost

    The reason half the Giros arent AU standard is because why bother sending the helmets you know are fine to be tested, its a waste of money.

  • Anonymous

    In order to reduce the catch cries of foul, these are the participants of the committee that designed the standard:|

    The following are represented on Committee CS-014:
    Association of Accredited Certification Bodies
    Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
    Australian Cycling Federation
    Australian Industries Group
    Australian Retailers Association
    Bicycle Federation of Australia
    Bicycle Industries Australia
    Department of Fair Trading NSW Consumer Protection Agency
    Department of Fair Trading, Tourism and Vine Industries, Qld
    New Zealand helmet testing interests
    Retail Cycle Traders Australia
    Road and Traffic Authority of NSW
    Royal Australian College of Surgeons
    University of New South Wales

    Furthermore some minor details can be found here: http://www.sdpp.standards.org.au/ActiveProjects.aspx?CommitteeNumber=CS-014&CommitteeName=Pedal%20Cycle%20Helmets

    I’m sure if you wanted to dig deeper you could contact the working groups and request guidance on specific topics in the standard.

    • Steel

      Says it all really. You’ve got a bunch of Australian industry groups trying to protect the status quo, likewise the testing bodies (conflict of interest anyone?), College of Surgeons who see all the dead bodies and therefore push for a zero risk position with all regulations. Rider groups – would be interested to see their position. It’s the fair trader/accc regulators that should bring some decent economic/policy thinking to this problem.

  • I’d equate the helmet standards to the ridiculous child seat laws in Australia. A mechanism, Isofix, that is used all over the world – including the US and the EU – is not considered safe here. Cartel between local manufacturers, installers and the certifying bodies. It is anti-competitive.

    • Steel

      Slightly different, but close.

      Isofix is coming to Australia very soon. Vehicle regulators more than anyone have opened the doors to international product (perhaps with the exception you mentioned and left hand drive vehicles) recognising that this actually allows Australians access to the safest cars at the lowest price (87 percent of the cars we buy here are made o/s).

      However, there is also some vastly different thinking in child safety that has lead to the different ways in which child restraints are designed. Euros stay reverse facing until much later, for instance, with the thinking being that the most important consideration is the relative weight of teh childs head to it’s body. Australians on the other hand have lead the world in top teathers which have been the benchmark in forward facing seats for some time.

  • Notso Swift

    So, who else has bought a good helmet OS then a cheap stackhat and steamed off the AS sticker in order to race with it…

    Not me of course, but I do know more than one

    • Dave

      You’d be boned if it came to a court case and some lawyer decided to look up your helmet make and model though, or if you really pissed off a police officer and they decided to find something to pin on you.

  • Macca

    Another point to do with testing and after the certification has completed is every 400 helmets produced (of the one model) a test sample of usually 4 helmets get retested to ensure they still comply with the standard.

    Also another unseen cost is retooling of the helmet and molds to met AS standard, if a helmet has passed CPSC std for instance and they send it off for AS testing and it fails they company will have to change the helmet construction and mold so that it passes the std. Which is a very large cost.

    Most international brands will not automatically get all of their models tested to AS std unless there is enough volume from the distributor to do so and most of the time is after they have completed the helmet for other std’s.

    The reason a certain website has some AS std brand helmets is due to Aus distro cancelling an order and the brand needed to move these AS std helmets.

  • Macca

    Another point to do with testing and after the certification has completed is every 400 helmets produced (of the one model) a test sample of usually 4 helmets get retested to ensure they still comply with the standard.

    Also another unseen cost is retooling of the helmet and molds to met AS standard, if a helmet has passed CPSC std for instance and they send it off for AS testing and it fails they company will have to change the helmet construction and mold so that it passes the std. Which is a very large cost.

    Most international brands will not automatically get all of their models tested to AS std unless there is enough volume from the distributor to do so and most of the time is after they have completed the helmet for other std’s.

    The reason a certain website has some AS std brand helmets is due to Aus distro cancelling an order and the brand needed to move these AS std helmets.

  • Thanks for that article – I am in the market for a helmet so this has helped. No more leather hairnets for me … i am off to 7-Eleven here in Melbourne :)

  • Arfy

    Is there any part of the helmet standards that relate to items affixed to the helmet, such as lights and cameras? It seems plausible that these items may compromise the safety of helmets.

    • Anonymous

      The code requires that the manufacturer publishes a series of clauses verbatim in an accompanying brochure of label. One of them is:

      d) No attachments should be made to the helmet except those recommended by the
      helmet manufacturer.

      This would include lights and cameras as they would likely change the performance of load distribution if they were the point of impact (i.e. landed on my gopro not helmet)

  • I guess that a pricier helmet may have better strap system – meaning it may be potentially safer, as long as the wearer puts it on correctly? Worth mentioning that the effectiveness of any helmet could be mitigated by loose/poor fitting (on backwards.) Have heard of people being choked by their helmet straps post impact.

  • Anonymous

    Realistically instead of exploring how much a manufacturer is out of pocket in this article, why didn’t you explore why the test exist? The Royal Australian College of Surgeons and the University of New South Wales were included in the committee of this standard, why not consult them and see if there are any papers published outlining the nature of the test and the purpose?

    Also in regards to materials – Section 5.4 indicates it must be suitable for purpose. Appendix A (Informative) clearly outlines that materials remain appreciably stable under the influence of aging, exposure to sunlight, extremes of temperature and rain. ‘We dont care what it is made out of’ is likely an understatement.

    • jules

      these are known as ‘performance based standards’, which mean that an outcome is specified (e.g. stable performance when subjected to sunlight) and it is up to the manufacturer to select a material which meets the standard. this is what he means when he says he doesn’t care what the material is – he doesn’t mean “use anything, I don’t care”.

      • Anonymous

        I understand the concept. There is no test in this standard for materials, but the clauses dictate that the materials must be fit for purpose (aka performance based) as demonstrated by the manufacturer. There is also guidance on the conditions to be considered. The implication that

        “We can’t even say what sort of materials the helmet is made out of”,
        Kim told me. “If you want to make a helmet out of cardboard, we don’t
        care — as long as it passes.”

        is potentially misrepresenting the nature of the material component of the standard. I cant submit a helmet made out of cardboard as it clearly is not fit for purpose – i.e. maintain integrity from exposure. There are restrictions in material through performance however they are not prescriptive like some standards can be.

      • Anonymous

        I understand the concept. There is no test in this standard for materials, but the clauses dictate that the materials must be fit for purpose (aka performance based) as demonstrated by the manufacturer. There is also guidance on the conditions to be considered. The implication that

        “We can’t even say what sort of materials the helmet is made out of”,
        Kim told me. “If you want to make a helmet out of cardboard, we don’t
        care — as long as it passes.”

        is potentially misrepresenting the nature of the material component of the standard. I cant submit a helmet made out of cardboard as it clearly is not fit for purpose – i.e. maintain integrity from exposure. There are restrictions in material through performance however they are not prescriptive like some standards can be.

      • Anonymous

        I understand the concept. There is no test in this standard for materials, but the clauses dictate that the materials must be fit for purpose (aka performance based) as demonstrated by the manufacturer. There is also guidance on the conditions to be considered. The implication that

        “We can’t even say what sort of materials the helmet is made out of”,
        Kim told me. “If you want to make a helmet out of cardboard, we don’t
        care — as long as it passes.”

        is potentially misrepresenting the nature of the material component of the standard. I cant submit a helmet made out of cardboard as it clearly is not fit for purpose – i.e. maintain integrity from exposure. There are restrictions in material through performance however they are not prescriptive like some standards can be.

        • jules

          yeah, I agree. the key point is that it doesn’t require helmets to be made with foam inner, or anything prescriptive. but it’s clear that some materials, e.g. cardboard, can’t practically meet the standard.

  • Felix

    What is the law with relation to existing helmets that are dated prior to 90-92 and their usage on Australian roads? I have a Cinelli Hairnet, that although completely useless and unsafe, I still use occasionally for novelty purposes.

  • Anonymous

    Standards Australia is private company:

    http://www.standards.org.au/OurOrganisation/AboutUs/Pages/default.aspx

    That oughta tell you something about their motivations.

    • That page doesn’t say that at all. It does say “It is charged by the Commonwealth Government to meet Australia’s need for contemporary, internationally aligned Standards and related services.” though. ie it’s not part of government, but government has given it the role of regulating standards in Australia.

    • That page doesn’t say that at all. It does say “It is charged by the Commonwealth Government to meet Australia’s need for contemporary, internationally aligned Standards and related services.” though. ie it’s not part of government, but government has given it the role of regulating standards in Australia.

      • Anonymous

        Not part of the government means private, no?

        • Australia Post is not part of the government, but it isn’t private.

  • Anonymous

    Standards Australia is private company:

    http://www.standards.org.au/OurOrganisation/AboutUs/Pages/default.aspx

    That oughta tell you something about their motivations.

  • Abdu

    I have a major concern about this guy checking the difference between the certified helmet and the actual ones pumped out in China. The ‘quality’ of items manufactured in China can be shocking, in the construction industry we use a 10-20% fail rate but that’s ok because it’s so cheap you’ll still make margins. Ok for tiles or other items in an apartment, wouldn’t want to take that risk with my helmet. That worries me now.
    Also, doesn’t this test just provide a base level of safety? Couldn’t there be ‘more safe’ (effective I guess) helmets but this testing can’t measure that?

  • Alex

    Australian Standards for helmets are a disgrace, they are not rqd and only push up the market costs/prices which is a disincentive to use a helmet or cycle.

  • Alex

    Australian Standards for helmets are a disgrace, they are not rqd and only push up the market costs/prices which is a disincentive to use a helmet or cycle.

  • Anonymous
  • DaCynic-of-y’all

    Ok, so everyone who thinks our standards are ridiculously stringent and not based on care for the public: please come visit me. I have a testing device here, about the size of a street sign pole (let’s call it a lump of pipe) and would love to apply a Dirac Delta (let’s call that a sharp, localised force – applied manually, of course) upside-a-your-head for quibbling over a BETTER standard. Especially because it seems the motivation is based on not wanting to support local small business owners. (No I’m not a LBS owner).

  • DaCynic-of-y’all

    Ok, so everyone who thinks our standards are ridiculously stringent and not based on care for the public: please come visit me. I have a testing device here, about the size of a street sign pole (let’s call it a lump of pipe) and would love to apply a Dirac Delta (let’s call that a sharp, localised force – applied manually, of course) upside-a-your-head for quibbling over a BETTER standard. Especially because it seems the motivation is based on not wanting to support local small business owners. (No I’m not a LBS owner).

  • So is there any difference between buying a (for example) Giro Atmos in Australia as opposed to buying one from Europe? Surely they are the same product except for the Australian safety sticker!

    I am just wondering as I recently purchased a Giro Selector TT helmet from olde England town because, no kidding, it was $150 cheaper than buying local.

    • timiji

      Yeah, this is a good question, the world over… if I buy my xyz helmet online in the name of globalization and competitive pricing (sorry, LBS, not this time) and so the sticker on the helmet is from the nation of abc, from whence it was shipped, does that make a difference – as long as the xyz helmet is approved in whatever country I ride/train/race? I don’t expect that Giro manufactures different levels of Atmos or Selector or xyz for Australia vs Spain vs USA, just because the ‘safety standards’ are different in each country. Rather, I expect that Giro (or whichever manufacturer) looks at all the standards and says – we have to be able to pass the highest bar – and then makes millions of helmets to distribute internationally. Am I wrong?

      • DSC

        The OS helmet is still not legal in Aust. Reason? Because it doesn’t have the sticker on it!! Having the sticker is part of the legal requirement, not just that the helmet itself comply with the standard (in Victoria at least – see Road Safety Road Rules 2009; refers to Government Gazette which states the helmet must have the AS sticker on it.)

  • Tomer

    I just want to understand, when I buy an helmet overseas for example Giro top of the line for 200AU$, that helmet here cost 320AU$, in the end it’s the same helmet, I hardly believe that Giro will make a special one for AU customers.
    In the end from my opinion the standard is design for cheap/poor helmets, to give you the certification that they are safe.
    There should be a safe list of helmets models and brand that will be certified, even if you got them in a diffrent country.

  • Check Your Head

    Giro Ionos
    $197.24 From large UK website + Free Shipping.
    $229.00 From Australian website (that avertises on Cycling tips) + Free Shipping.
    10% GST = $22.90 + Import Duties ??
    So a difference of $10 after the GST and some jobs for some locals

  • Check Your Head

    Giro Ionos
    $197.24 From large UK website + Free Shipping.
    $229.00 From Australian website (that avertises on Cycling tips) + Free Shipping.
    10% GST = $22.90 + Import Duties ??
    So a difference of $10 after the GST and some jobs for some locals

  • cycling widow

    I remember my husband being booted off the startline in a Victorian race after one of the commissairres spotted that he didn’t have an AU compliant brand of helmet…. he ended up borrowing someone’s mountain bike helmet, complete with plastic sun visor on the front and starting slightly late. funnily enough, still won the race though! I can’t thank the group who do the testing enough though, the ‘double bounce’ testing has saved more cyclists than just my hubby, and saved him on more than one occasion

BACK TO TOP

Pin It on Pinterest

19 NEW ARTICLES
July 28, 2017
July 27, 2017
July 26, 2017
July 25, 2017