If you’ve ever seen anyone on a scooter, electric bike or even a big beefy Harley Davidson with an open-face helmet and wondered, “how is that legal?”, you’re not alone.

    • There is no law against open face helmets in Australia
    • But all helmets must meet either Australian/New Zealand or European standards
    • There are fines for incorrect helmet use, or not wearing a helmet

    The fact is, though, that so long as the helmet meets some specific requirements, it is legal to wear an open-face helmet while riding a motorcycle or other open-air contraption on the road.

    There are no specific laws for Australia that rule out different types of helmets, but it has to be noted that helmets used in Australia have to comply with Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1698:2006 Protective Helmets For Vehicle Users and/or Australian Standard (AS) 1698:1988, Protective Helmets For Vehicle Users.

    Until recently, those were the only choices, but now riders can buy a European helmet, so long as it is in compliance with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 22 (UNECE22.05 or UNECE22.06), Uniform provisions concerning the approval of protective helmets and their visors for drivers and passengers of motorcycles and mopeds.  

    If you’re curious, all helmets that meet the above stringent legal requirements for protection, impact, penetration and retention in the event of impact, and all helmets in Australia must be fitted with a chin strap. 

    Legitimate helmets will have a certifying mark, sewn-in label, or a sticker to indicate compliance with the abovementioned standards. For European helmets, it will typically be sewn into the retention system.

    It is also worth noting that in some instances, tinted visors on full-face helmets may not be legal for road use. It is worth asking your state or territory authorities if you’re unclear on the laws.

    It is a nationwide legal requirement for all occupants on a motorcycle, moped, scooter or other vehicle of the type to wear a helmet. 

    Fines apply for riding without a helmet, both for the driver and any occupants also on the motorcycle. The financial penalties vary from $100 through to $1626, depending on the jurisdiction, and up to nine demerit points may apply, too.

    You can also be fined for wearing a helmet that is not approved or is deteriorated.

    Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.

    Matt Campbell
    Matt Campbell is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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