Federal Motorcycle Helmet Regulations


The Federal Govt is involved in the national system of regulations in a number of ways :-

The Constitution

The constitution has a significant role in setting out the relationship between federal and state laws. State law is subordinate to federal law. The Constitutional Overview shows the sections which are relevant to helmet regulation.

Customs Service

The Customs Service regulates what helmets can be imported into Australia. Import restrictions to allow only AS1698 helmets was put in place in the 1980's but this was relaxed in the 1990's. The status of import restrictions is unclear.


The ACCC restricted the sales of helmets to specific standards through regulations under Australian Consumer Law (formerly the Trade Practices Act) until 2015. The allowable standards were set in Consumer Protection Notice 9.

The standard specified by CPN 9 was a modified version of AS1698-1988 which removed the clause 8g provision for optional Certification Trade Marks by the State Regulators which was a point of confusion with the voluntary standard.

From 2015 the ACCC relies on the "fit for purpose" provisions of ACL to regulate helmets offered for sale in Australia.

The ACCC also has a role in the approval of Certification Trade Marks under the Trade Marks Act 1995. Certification Trade Marks are Trade Marks which indicate to consumers that a product or service meets a particular standard.

Australian Consumer Law (ACL)

The ACCC administers the sale of products under Australian Consumer Law. All products offered for sale must be "fit for purpose", in the case of helmets this could mean helmets meet a standard required by motorsport, road use or farm use.

Fit for purpose however is not a catch all. It can come down to whether the customer makes it clear to the sales person what purpose the helmet or visor is to be used for. This opens the question as to whether the customer relied on the expertise and judgement of the sales person in selecting the helmet to purchase. It could also be argued that a sales person has a "duty of care" to the customer to ask what the purpose is in purchase of a helmet.

Australian Road Rules (ARR)

The development of the ARR by the National Transport Commission (NTC) which are intended as the template for the individual State Road Rules. The States still too often deviate from the ARR complicating Road Rules for riders.

The ARR are directly written into law in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the Northern Territory (NT).

The ARR are also law in the territories administered by the Commonwealth, there are around 30 territories.

Over the last few years the States have been either updating or replacing their Road Traffic Acts to bring them in line with the ARR. The ARR were written directly into law in NSW and Victoria during the period from 1999 to 2008.

As of 2013 around 85% of the road rules in each State have been harmonised but not motorcycle helmet regulations.

IP Australia

IP Australia is the Australian Government agency that administers intellectual property (IP) rights and legislation relating to patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder's rights. Certification Trade Marks must be registered with IP Australia before they can be used. These are the "stickers" on helmets indicating compliance with AS1698.

Standards Australia

Standards Australia maintain voluntary Australian Standard AS/NZS1698 by agreement with the Federal Govt.

Standards Australia is an independent company, not directly associated with government, although a Memorandum of Understanding has existed between Standards Australia and the Commonwealth Government since 1988.

The Memorandum recognises Standards Australia as the peak non-government Standards body in Australia.


JAS-ANZ is an international not for profit non government body which acts as a registrar of organisations and individuals who are accredited to undertake product conformance assesment and other tasks to international standards.

JAS-ANZ has no direct role in the regulation of helmets.

NSW, Victoria and SA require JAS-ANZ accredited Conformance Assessment Bodies certify AS1698 helmets.

The overlays below provide additional information.

Mandatory Helmet Standards
Other Federal Information
Federal Regulation Comments