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Bicycle helmets

mother and son with bicycles wearing bicycle helmets
Check Bicycle helmets for more information
The mandatory standard for bicycle helmets covers design, construction and safety marking requirements for bicycle helmets.

A bicycle helmet is designed to offer protection to the cyclist’s head during impact. It features a:

  • shell
  • liner
  • retention strap fitted along the lower jaw area.

On this page:

Hazards

Cyclists may suffer death or serious injury in the event of an accident if the bicycle helmet they are wearing does not adequately protect their head. 

Mandatory standard

This mandatory standard is set out in the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standards) Regulations 2001Bicycle Helmets.

This mandatory standard is based on requirements specified and varied in the Regulations as published in AS/NZS 2063:2008—Bicycle helmets. This is a voluntary standard except for those sections specifically called up by the mandatory standard. For complete information about all mandatory requirements for bicycle helmets you must read the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standards) Regulations 2001Bicycle Helmets, and relevant sections of the applicable voluntary standards listed above.

Any bicycle helmets supplied are required to meet the requirements published in AS/NZS 2063:2008—Bicycle helmets, as specified and varied by the Regulations.

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Does this apply to your business?

Under the ACL supply includes:

  • in relation to goods - (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase and
  • in relation to services - provide, grant of confer. 

This mandatory standard applies to anyone in the business of supplying bicycle helmets, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers.

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Complying with the mandatory standard

For complete information about all mandatory requirements for bicycle helmets, suppliers must read the:

Suppliers may also find the Regulation impact statement—Bicycle helmets helpful in understanding aspects of the mandatory standard.

Penalties and consequences

Supplying bicycle helmets that do not meet requirements of the mandatory standard can make you liable for heavy fines and product recalls. For more details, view Penalties and consequences.

Some key requirements

The requirements below are key requirements only from the mandatory standard based on AS/NZS 2063:2088—Bicycle helmets. They may help to give suppliers a general idea of the detail they must look up in the Regulations and standard. This information may also assist consumers when they are choosing bicycle helmets.

While we provide some information on this page to help you understand some aspects of the mandatory standard you can visually check, suppliers must not rely on this information as a complete guide to compliance.

Testing

The mandatory standard specifies testing to ensure bicycle helmets meet requirements such as those for construction, design, performance, markings and safe use instructions. Suppliers need to organise this testing through specialist laboratories with the right skills, experience and equipment.

Design and construction

General

The helmet must consist of a:

  • means of absorbing impact energy
  • means of distributing load
  • retention system.

All components of the helmet must be permanently attached. Removable comfort pads are not considered to be part of the protective system.

Retention system

The retention system must be designed to:

  • include a retaining strap to be worn under the lower jaw
  • be adjustable to produce tension on straps between all points at which the strap is attached to the helmet when the retaining strap is properly fastened
  • ensure that the retaining strap fitted to the lower jaw area is at least 15 mm wide
  • meet the requirements of helmet stability and strength of the retention system under anticipated conditions of use.

Projections

A projection is any fixed part that extends abruptly beyond the internal or external surface of the helmet.

  • The helmet should have no external rigid projections greater than 5 mm in height, except for ventilation holes and associated depressions.
  • The helmet should have no internal projections or irregularities likely to cause injury to the wearer in case of an accident.

Materials

  • The materials used must be established by the manufacturer as suitable for the helmet's purpose. 
  • The manufacturer should regard provisions in AS/NZS 2063, which includes that materials should remain:
    • stable under the influence of ageing
    • durable under normal use
    • durable when exposed to sunlight, extreme temperatures and rain.

Ventilation

  • The helmet must incorporate features designed to transfer heat from the head.

Performance

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.

Safety markings

On the helmet

Each helmet must be permanently and legibly marked in letters no less than 1.5 mm high indicating the:

  • registered name and address of the manufacturer and/or Australian agent
  • shell and liner construction material(s)
  • model and brand designation
  • front or rear of the helmet
  • helmet size
  • month and year of manufacture, which may be spelled out (for example ‘November 2008’) or in numerals (for example ‘11/2008’).

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.
On the package

If the helmet is packaged, the following information must be clear and legible to the user without removal of the helmet:

  • the manufacturer’s registered brand name
  • model designation
  • helmet size
  • a list of sizes available in the model range, together with the nominal mass for each size
  • the activities for which the helmet is designed.
Instructions for safe use and care

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

  • 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.

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

  • Instructions on the correct method of positioning, adjustment and fastening of the helmet.
  • Both the correct and incorrect fitment and wearing positions of that approximate type of helmet. These must be shown by a graphical representation of minimum height 25 mm. The correct wearing position, as recommended by the manufacturer, must be shown in a circle. The incorrect wearing position (showing the helmet tilted back at a grossly incorrect attitude) must be shown in a circle with a slash through it. The two depictions must be the same height.
  • Cleaning method and agent(s).
  • Details regarding suitability of the helmet in relation to specific activities.
  • Australian distributors’/agents’ names and addresses if manufactured locally.

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