Latest News

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  • Helmet Laws

    On 11th December 2015 the use of helmets meeting International Helmet standard UN ECE 22.05 became legal for use in NSW. For more information click here

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  • Lane Filtering legalised

    On 1st July 2014, lane filtering was legalised in NSW. The MCC of NSW has fought for this legalisation for many years. For more details click here

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Helmet Laws


Whatever it is, make sure it FITS YOUR HEAD.
About 10% of helmets come off in crashes. Fasten the strap.
Don’t buy a helmet you haven’t had on YOUR head.
Helmet fit is REALLY important. More here

On Friday the 11th of December 2016, NSW Road Rule 270 was amended to allow the use of the International Helmet standard UN ECE 22.05 in NSW.
NSW Road Rule 270

This Amendment additionally moved the definition of an approved motor bike helmet into the published road rule, rather than the past practice of obscuring the definition in date-order Government Gazettes.
While the National Road Rule Road Rule 270 is basically the same in all states, requiring a rider to wear an approved helmet correctly fastened on their head, the definition for an approved motor bike helmet continues to vary within each state.

ALL States and Territories now require use of an approved helmet that bears evidence of having been Certified as compliant with AS/NZS 1698:2006, or ECE 22-05 or AS 1698-1988. The “evidence” is a mark, label or sticker in and/or on the helmet.

European helmets are “homologated” by a European government.
Australian Standard helmets are “Certified” by a privately owned certification services company.

The labels are quite different, reflecting the different processes.

ECE 22-05 label details

AS/NZS 1698:2006 label details

The introduction of ECE 22-05 helmets since 2016 has been warmly welcomed by riders, allowing safer helmets and a less restricted market.

ECE 22-05 Labelling

Compliance with ECE 22-05 means it is marked in accordance with Clause 5.1.9 of ECE 22-05

This requires a label sewn onto the chin-strap (“retention system”) that carries quite specific (and very informative) information.

Label on chinstrap

The label above is an example of a compliance label for ECE 22-05
In the circle it shows "E11"
E11 = United Kingdom
i.e. this helmet was homologated by the British government.

Of interest, this is a "flip up" helmet that achieved homologation as BOTH an open face and full-face; the chin-bar can rotate to a locked position at the rear and does not form a "protrusion".

Critical information is easily decoded from 050113 P/J - 553863 as seen on the label above.
Below are shown the codes, their meaning and the clauses of ECE 22-05

The above tells us who to contact for full compliance test details of THIS helmet (for proof of design and proof of production reliability).
The Batch Test Control Number links THIS helmet to the particular production batch it came from and the batch tests for that batch. It’s under regulatory control.
If it doesn't have the chin-strap tag with the above details, it's not UN/ECE 22-05 compliant, despite any other labels.

On some ECE helmets, the label is behind a sheathing over the chin-strap. To read the label, the sheathing can be pushed back while holding the strap with the other hand.

E numbers

1 for Germany, 2 for France, 3 for Italy, 4 for the Netherlands, 5 for
Sweden, 6 for Belgium, 7 for Hungary, 8 for the Czech Republic, 9 for Spain, 10 for Yugoslavia, 11 for the United Kingdom, 12 for Austria, 13 for Luxembourg, 14 for Switzerland, 15 (vacant), 16 for Norway, 17 for Finland, 18 for Denmark, 19 for Romania, 20 for Poland, 21 for Portugal, 22 for the Russian Federation, 23 for Greece, 24 for Ireland, 25 for Croatia, 26 for Slovenia, 27 for Slovakia, 28 for Belarus, 29 for Estonia, 30 (vacant), 31 for Bosnia and Herzegovina, 32 for Latvia, 33 (vacant), 34 for Bulgaria, 35 (vacant), 36 for Lithuania, 37 for Turkey, 38 (vacant), 39 for Azerbaijan, 40 for The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 41 (vacant),

Label on chinstrap

Below, IS NOT an ECE 22-05 compliance label

NOT an ECE approval label

AS/NZS 1698:2006 Labelling

For Australian Standards, you need to find an approval label inside the helmet that has details required by AS/NZS 1698:2006. Labels required by AS 1698-1988 are the same.

Clause 8 of AS/NZS 1698 requires marking that can be “easily read without removal of the padding”. These are INSIDE the helmet.

Below: Clause 8 from AS/NZS 1698:2006:-
Clause 8 AS/NZS 1698:2006

Local Certifiers may also put a label on the outside of the helmet to tell you which company is responsible for Certifying the helmet, although this is not a requirement of AS/NZS 1698:2006

The NSW road rule restricts the market to a small group of local certification companies. The "approved company" labels are listed on the RMS website. The marks shown may be on the inside label or on the outside label.

Approved AS/NZS1698 Labels

Police will often look only for the external label.

Many helmets have labels that wear off or become illegible over time due to sun exposure, sweat and wear. Some helmets never had all the required internal labels, even when new. However, even if it only has an external sticker as shown on the RMS website, it is "approved".

Here's a few inside labels from helmets certified to AS/NZS 1698

Shoei Multitec
TuV Certified for Aldi
AS/NZS1698 - 1999 (huh?)
multiple labels to make up Clause 8
sweat and wear
small text

The introduction of ECE 22-05 helmets since 2016 has been warmly welcomed by riders, allowing safer helmets and a market less restricted by regulatory protection.

UN ECE 22-05 versus AS/NZS 1698:2006

Differences between these two helmet types include:-

  • Technical differences
  • Regulatory differences

These differences arise from a different philosophy of HOW to protect the head in an impact and quite different legal and regulatory administrative processes to ensure that only soundly made and Certified helmets reach the market. Both are effective helmets.
In any case, in Australia, it is the seller of a helmet who is held responsible for ensuring that the claim of Certificationcan be substantiated as valid

i.e. you have consumer law protections if you purchase your helmet from a shop in Australia.
If you buy online from overseas, you have no consumer protections, nor can you try the helmet for fit.

Technical differences

UN ECE 22-05 helmets

  • Are lighter in weight, placing less stress on the neck.
  • Have greater test area, more coverage of the head
  • Have a test for the chin-bar

AS/NZS 1698

  • Have a heavy, hard shell
  • Have a small test area, similar to a “shorty” shell
  • Does not test the chin-bar at all

Regulatory differences

UN/ECE 22-05
Firstly, UN/ECE 22-05 is a Regulation under law of the various European jurisdictions. Australia is represented on the Working Party that oversees UN/ECE 22-05 and other UN Regulations governing vehicle standards. A claim of compliance with UN/ECE 22-05 must be able to be substantiated to the ACCC.

A manufacturer is required to submit all test results and assessments to their government authority for approval and homologation before any helmets can be offered for sale. Additional batch testing must also be submitted for on-going maintenance of their approval status ("surveillance of production").

UN/ECE 22-05 contains specified requirements and a regulatory process at these three different stages:-

  1. Type Test (to prove the product design meets the standard) [Paras 6 & 7]
  2. Production Qualification (to prove the production system is capable of producing successive compliant product)[Para 9.1]
  3. Product Surveillance or “batch testing” (to prove that the on-going products are compliant) [Para 10.5.1]

AS/NZS 1698:2006 sets out only a technical specification.
Compliance to the Australian Standard is a private matter between the manufacturer or importer and the Certification business. No regulatory requirements define the manner of Certification. Each Certifier creates their own certification scheme.

Table. Comparison of the motorcycle helmet certification process used by a major European helmet manufacturer for UN/ECE 22.05 and AS/NZS 1698 motorcycle helmets.

Compliance FolderUN/ECE 22-05AS/NZS 1698
Type Test ReportXX
Qualification of ProductionX-
Certificate of ConformityXX
Production Surveillance TestsXX
[Para][varies by CAB]
Yearly TestsXX
[varies by CAB]
Factory Audit CertificateXX
Conformity Audit CertificateXX
Component Quality ControlXX

A certification scheme must include how the certified product can maintain its certification after initial certification is granted. Batch testing does not substitute for initial assessment of compliance. By necessity, batch test sampling rates are very low. Batch testing alone cannot determine reliability of production for compliance and is not a substitute.

Historical notes:

In ancient times, helmet construction and shape were copied from those worn by survivors in battle.

Modern helmet standards are “performance based”, meaning they must pass certain tests designed to mimic the type of impact likely to be incurred in a motorcycle crash.

The first person to relate injury to specific mechanical impacts was Hugh Cairns from Port Pirie, South Australia. In the late 1930’s, Cairns was a young neurosurgeon studying in Britain when T.E. Lawrence was brought in on a stretcher after crashing his Brough Superior. Otherwise uninjured, Lawrence died of an internal head injury. Cairns took an interest in helmets and worked with British Army despatch riders.

Dr. Cairns began relating mechanical behaviour of crash helmets to mechanisms of head and brain injury. His work was taken up by others and after World War II the Ministry of Transport in Great Britain put serious effort into crash helmets.

This effort resulted in the world’s first performance based helmet standards:-

  • British Standard 1869:1952, Crash Helmets for Racing Motor Cyclists and
  • British Standard 2001: 1953, Protective Helmets for Motor Cyclists

Performance standards were a new concept. Previous specifications defined objects in terms of their materials, dimensions and production. Performance standards define helmets in terms of their function. Instead of describing the helmet, performance standards told how to test them.

UN/ECE 22-05
UN ECE 22-05 dates from 1958 and has been updated on a regular basis as new evidence has been confirmed by research. In 1995, UN ECE 22 was amended to remove the shell penetration test and replace it with a shell integrity test. This had the effect of making helmets lighter. Research had suggested that helmets weighing more than 1.5 kg were implicated in more serious neck injury. A very extensive helmet research program(COST 327) across multiple countries followed up on the ECE 22 amendment (COST 327), concluding that the amendment was sound and producing excellent public health outcomes for crashed, helmeted riders.

AS/NZS 1698:2006
AS/NZS 1698:2006 is based on a 1968 Standard developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z.90). In fact, ANSI Z.90 is the basis for the national standards of the USA (FMVSS-218) and Japan (JIS T8133).

USA (Jan), Japan (May) and Australia (Sept) all adopted ANSI Z.90 in 1974. Minor changes to each, mean that while similar, they are not identical and require different labels. As a result, each country limits market access to their own label.

UN/ECE 22-05 not only ensures an excellent helmet, it also allows harmonisation of markets, reducing protectionism.