An NRMA Member recently asked us on Facebook if it was an offence to have a camera attached to your motorbike helmet while riding.
Amongst other things, the answer to the question depends on how ‘approved motor bike helmet’ is defined in the legislation.
NSW Road Rule 270(1)(a) is quite ambiguous when it comes to defining exactly what constitutes an ‘approved motor bike helmet’ under motor traffic law (see law below).
Part 270 of Road Rules 2014 covers wearing motorbike helmets
(1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must:
- (a) wear an approved motor bike helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head, and
- (b) not ride with a passenger unless the passenger complies with subrule (2).
As stated in the legislation, an approved motor bike helmet must comply with standard AS/NZS 1698. It has been argued by some that this standard relates to the initial manufacturing of the helmet and not attaching third party modifications, such as cameras, to the helmet.
Keep in mind, that the legislation also allows for helmets that have an identifying mark certifying compliance with the standard UNECE22.05 as an approved motor bike helmet, but it is the AS/NZS 1698 standard that has been discussed in court cases and sets precedents in various states in Australia.
It should be noted that it is definitely illegal to screw a device into the helmet by drilling holes or interfering with the structural integrity of the helmet. Once it’s structural integrity is compromised, the helmet wouldn’t qualify as an approved helmet and the rider’s safety would be at risk.
An interesting development is that the law firm Maurice Blackburn recently appealed a magistrate’s decision in Victoria and successfully argued that the Australian Standard governing motorcycle helmets is not made freely accessible to the public by VicRoads, and therefore riders could not be found guilty of breaching a standard that was not publicly available.
However, at this stage in New South Wales, it is still technically illegal to wear a GoPro or other such device on a motorcycle helmet. The law on this may change some time in the near future to bring NSW in line with other states such as Queensland and South Australia. Their position is clearer, stating that the time for compliance with a standard is at the time of manufacture and not after the sale of the helmet.
Therefore, until the meaning of ‘approved motor bike helmet’ has been more conclusively defined by the courts in New South Wales, you do risk a New South Wales police officer fining you $325 plus three demerit points (for specific helmet offences including the fitting of cameras) with also the possibility of double demerit points over in a double demerit holiday period, if you wear a camera attached to your motorcycle helmet.
Have any more questions? Feel free to contact our Motoring Advice on 13 11 22 (Monday-Friday 8:30am – 5pm)
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