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Australian standard AS/NZS 2063

1. Introduction

This paper is part of a stakeholder consultation about the mandatory safety standard for the
The ACCC is interested in any information that could help us assess the options, particularly
the potential impacts and benefits of revoking the standard.
2. Policy options
This consultation paper discusses the following policy options:
Option 1a Revoke the safety standard.
Option 1b ‘Use’ laws to reference the safety standard.
Maintain the status quo.
Accept other trusted standards


3. Background

The mandatory safety standard for bicycle helmets aims to minimise the risk of death,
serious head injuries and injuries to cyclists by regulating the supply of bicycle helmets in
Australia to ensure helmets meet specified safety characteristics.
The safety standard started in 1988 under the Trade Practices Act 1974 (the TPA) in
response to concerns about the safety of helmets on the market at the time. It is a legislative
instrument on the Federal Register of Legislation, set out in Trade Practices (Consumer
Product Safety Standard) (Bicycle Helmets) Regulations 2001. The legislative instrument
safety standard and varies some of the requirements. The ACCC last reviewed the safety
standard in 2009.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which is Schedule 2 to the Competition and Consumer
Act 2010 (CCA), took effect on 1 January 2011. Consumer product safety standards made
under the TPA continued in force as if they had been made under the ACL.
The key requirements of the safety standard relate to the helmet retention system,
projections, testing and performance requirements, safety markings and instructions for use.
See Appendix A for details.
A Standards Australia technical committee is currently reviewing the voluntary Australian
standard AS/NZS 2063:2008.
The consultation process outlined in this paper may be the only opportunity for
stakeholders to provide input to this review.
We encourage interested parties to make submissions.
Review of the safety standard for bicycle helmets 4
International regulation and standards
The European standard EN 1078 - Helmets for pedal cyclists and for users of skateboards
and roller skates and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
bicycle helmet standard are the most widely used bicycle helmet standards in the world.
Currently, it is not legal to supply or to use bicycle helmets that comply with these other
standards unless they also comply with AS/NZS 2063:2008.
The differences between AS/NZS 2063 and the EN 1078 and CPSC standards include:
 The Australian Standard requires a ‘load distribution’ test of the helmet’s ability to evenly
distribute the ‘load’ of an impact. EN and CPSC standards do not have this.
 The Australian Standard requires that sample helmets pass multiple performance tests.
The EN and CPSC standards allow separate helmets to be used for each test.
 The Australian Standard requires a lower force inside the helmet during impact testing
(250 g-force) whereas the EN and CPSC standards allow a higher force inside the
helmet (300 g-force).

4. Bicycle helmet ‘supply’ and ‘use’ laws

The safety standard for bicycle helmets regulates the ‘supply’, in trade or commerce, of
bicycle helmets by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase. The safety standard
also covers offering to supply and manufacturing for supply.
State and Territory road safety authorities administer laws that govern which helmets can be
legally used by bicycle riders on public roads (‘use’ laws). All Australian States and
Territories require bicycle users to wear an approved bicycle helmet while riding on public
roads and they enforce these laws locally. Each State and Territory requires the use of
bicycle helmets that comply with the Australian standard AS/NZS 2063.
The supply and use laws overlap since they both require bicycle helmets to comply with
AS/NZS 2063.
Some States and Territories have considered allowing bicycle helmets that comply with the
European standard EN 1078 to be used. Under current arrangements helmets built to this
standard cannot legally be supplied. In the absence of a mandatory safety standard for
supply, State and Territory road safety authorities would have greater flexibility to specify the
standards of helmets that could be used.
However, if different jurisdictions specify different bicycle helmet standards in their ‘use’
laws, then requirements would differ across Australia and it would be possible to buy a
helmet in one State that was illegal to use in another.

5. The Australian Consumer Law

The ACL is a single, national law covering consumer protection and fair trading which
applies nationally and in each state and territory of Australia. The ACL includes a number of
provisions that may be used by the ACCC and in conjunction with State and Territory road
use laws to ensure the safe supply of bicycle helmets.
Consumer product safety standards
Safety standards made under the ACL are co-operatively enforced by the ACCC and State
and Territory fair trading agencies:
Review of the safety standard for bicycle helmets 5
 Section 104 of the ACL allows the Commonwealth Minister to make a safety standard for
consumer goods reasonably necessary to prevent or reduce the risk of injury to any
person; and Section 105 allows for an Australian Standard either in whole or part, with
additions or variations, to be declared a safety standard for consumer goods.
 Section 106 of the ACL states that a person must not supply consumer goods that do not
comply with a safety standard.
Misleading or deceptive conduct
Section 18 of the ACL states that a person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in
conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive; and Section 29
provides a specific protection to consumers against false or misleading representations
about goods. A false representation by a supplier that a bicycle helmet meets a particular
standard may breach one or both of these provisions.
Consumer guarantees
Section 54 of the ACL provides consumer guarantees that goods are of acceptable quality
including that they are free from defects and safe; and Section 55 provides consumer
guarantees that goods are reasonably fit for any disclosed purpose.
Compulsory & voluntary recalls of unsafe goods
Section 122 provides for the compulsory recall of consumer goods that will or may cause
injury to any person. In most cases of unsafe goods, the ACCC and the supplier of the
goods negotiate a voluntary recall. However, the option to use powers in the ACL to
compulsorily recall unsafe goods is also available.

6. Detailed description of policy options

Option 1: Remove duplicate regulation of bicycle helmets
The mandatory safety standard and State and territory ‘use’ laws separately set safety
requirements for bicycle helmets. The following options explore whether the safety of
helmets could be maintained whilst minimising regulatory duplication.
Option 1a: Revoke the safety standard
If the Minister revoked the mandatory safety standard for the supply for bicycle helmets,
State and Territory road use laws would continue to specify which helmets could be worn.
Under this option, suppliers would still need to comply with the general ACL provisions, such
as those about product liability, misleading or deceptive conduct, false or misleading
representations that goods are of a particular standard and consumer guarantees.
If bicycle helmet suppliers represent that their goods meet a particular standard (such as
AS/NZS 2063), those assertions must be true and suppliers have an obligation to ensure
that is the case. This provides a statutory mechanism for the ACCC to test helmets which
claim compliance with the Australian standard or any other standard.
Non-compliance with the Australian standard would be a safety issue which may result in the
recall of unsafe helmets and the ACCC pursuing breaches of the ACL.
Review of the safety standard for bicycle helmets 6
The consumer guarantees of the ACL require goods to be of an acceptable quality including
that they are fit for purpose, free from defects and safe. Any consumer buying a bicycle
helmet in Australia would be entitled to expect that the helmet was able to be legally used for
its intended purpose and that it performed as represented.
Revoking the safety standard will remove the duplicative Commonwealth regulation for
bicycle helmets, which is already covered by State and Territory road use legislation. Supply
and use laws overlap since they both require bicycle helmets to comply with AS/NZS 2063.
States and Territories that want to permit the use of helmets complying with European or
other international standards are prevented from doing so under current regulatory
arrangements. In the absence of a mandatory safety standard for supply, State and Territory
road safety authorities would have greater flexibility to specify the standards of helmets that
could be used.
The general consumer protections of the ACL would continue to prevent the supply of
helmets that did not meet ‘use’ laws that are currently aligned in all States and Territories.
However, if ‘use’ laws become inconsistent in different States or Territories, then it could be
possible for a consumer to purchase a helmet in one State that was illegal to use in another.
Option 1b: ‘Use’ laws could reference the safety standard
Under this option, the States and Territories would specify that any bicycle helmet that met
the mandatory safety standard could be used.
This option would remove duplicate regulation between the Commonwealth and States and
This option may be administratively difficult as it would require nine Governments to
implement an identical policy. In addition, States and Territories may differ as to their view
on which standard the Commonwealth should adopt.
Option 2: Maintain the status quo
This option would maintain the mandatory safety standard. It would continue to exist
alongside State and Territory road safety laws for bicycle helmets.
The ACCC would look to revise and update the mandatory safety standard when Standards
Australia completes its current review of AS/NZS 2063.
No changes in regulation will mean certainty for suppliers and consumers in the short-term.
Review of the safety standard for bicycle helmets 7
The duplicative regulation of bicycle helmets would continue. States and Territories would
continue to be prevented from allowing helmets to be used other than those that comply with
AS/NZS 2063.
Option 3: Accept other trusted standards
This option would amend the mandatory safety standard to allow helmets that meet trusted
international standards (such as the EN or CPSC standards) to be supplied.
The ACCC has not analysed the relative safety merits of the EN or CPSC standards in detail
(but see section 3 for a preliminary assessment). Nonetheless, these are the most widely
accepted safety standards for bicycle helmets in the world.
Suppliers and consumers would benefit from being able to supply and buy a greater range of
helmets that comply with trusted international standards.
If the mandatory safety standard allowed helmets to be supplied that were not allowed to be
used in every State and Territory then it would be possible for a consumer to buy a helmet
that is illegal to use on some roads.
It would therefore be important that all nine Governments agreed to any change that
accepted trusted international standards such as the EN or CPSC bicycle helmet standards.

7. Preliminary position

The ACCC is of the view that consumer safety and confidence would be maximised, and
compliance costs for suppliers minimised, if all Australian bicycle helmet regulations
continue to reference the same standard or standards.
The mandatory safety standard is currently redundant as every State and Territory has ‘use’
laws requiring cyclists to wear helmets that comply with the Australian standard.
Revoking the mandatory safety standard (Option 1a) would remove the potential for a future
conflict between Commonwealth supply and State and Territory use laws. The general
consumer protections of the ACL that ensure that helmets are of an acceptable quality,
including that they are fit for purpose, would remain in place.
Overlapping regulation also creates additional costs for governments, businesses and
consumers, including costs to develop and maintain regulation and compliance costs.
The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) has advised that the ACCC may not need to
develop a Regulation Impact Statement to revoke the safety standard.
Review of the safety standard for bicycle helmets 8
8. Consultation questions

9. Have your say
The ACCC invites interested parties to provide information and comment on this review.
Consultation is open from 28 September 2016 to 18 November 2016.
The ACCC prefers submissions to be made via the ACCC consultation hub at
Alternatively, email submissions to productsafety.regulation@accc.gov.au.
Submissions can also be posted to:
Standards and Policy
Consumer Product Safety Branch
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
GPO Box 3131
If the information you provide is of a confidential nature, we assure you that we will treat the
details you provided confidentially. That is, the ACCC will not disclose the confidential
information to third parties, other than advisors or consultants engaged directly by the
ACCC, without first providing you with notice of its intention to do so, such as where it is
compelled to do so by law. Please note that any information that you believe to be of a
confidential nature should be clearly marked or identified as confidential. See the ACCC &
AER information policy: collection and disclosure of information publication for more



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