Centre for Road Safety

A technician testing a motorcycle helmet.

Choose the safest

The Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets CRASH website provides independent and consistent information on the levels of protection from injury provided by motorcycle helmets in a crash, as well as the comfort level of helmets.

CRASH is run by a consortium of government agencies and a motorist organisation, which all share a common interest in improving motorcycle rider safety. The program is supported by the Centre for Road Safety, the National Roads & Motorist's Association, and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).

Helmet law

The NSW Road Rules 2014 require that:

  • The rider of a motorcycle must wear an approved motorcycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head,
  • The rider of a motorcycle must not ride with a passenger unless the passenger is wearing an approved motorcycle helmet.

Helmet standard

An approved motorcycle helmet is a protective helmet for motorcycle riders of a type that complies with:

  • Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1698:2006 Protective Helmets For Vehicle Users, as amended by Amendment No. 1 of 28 September 2007 and Amendment No. 2 of 27 May 2009; or
  • An earlier version of Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1698 or Australian Standard 1698-1988 that was in force at the time of manufacture or importation; or
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 22 (UNECE22.05) as amended;
  • And has a mark certifying compliance with an above standard.

Motorcycle helmets manufactured after 31 March 2011 to meet AS/NZS 1698 must have an identifying mark from a body accredited or approved by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) certifying compliance with an above standard.

Accredited companies

Accredited companies that certify motorcycle helmets can be found on the JAS-ANZ website. As of December 2015, there are four JAS-ANZ accredited bodies that can certify motorcycle helmets to comply with AS/NZS 1698. Information printed on the labels includes:

  1. BSI: Certified Product. Australian & NZ Standard. AS/NZS 1698. Issued BSI Benchmark. DO NOT REMOVE.
  2. Global-Mark: Certified Product. AS/NZS 1698. Global.Mark.com.au
  3. SAI Global: Certified Product. Australian Standard AS/NZS 1698. Issued by SAI Global. DO NOT REMOVE.
  4. TUV RA: AUS Certified Product. Compliance of this product with AS/NZS 1698-2006 is monitored by TUV Rheinland.
    ID. :00287 - www.tuv.com

A motorcycle helmet that complies with UNECE22.05 must carry the UNECE ‘E’ approval mark, with a number which represents the country in which the testing and certification was approved. It must also have information confirming the actual standard with which it complies, the type of helmet and its production serial number.

What to look for

  • All helmets sold in Australia must comply with the Australian or UNECE22.05 Standard and are marked accordingly
  • Consider the protection and comfort of the helmet
  • It is important that the helmet fits properly. Try the helmet on for size and comfort before you buy it. Do not buy a helmet online unless you are sure it fits you correctly.
  • Choose a light-coloured helmet that will offer better visibility to other vehicle drivers day and night
  • You should not buy a second-hand helmet, as it may have been involved in a crash or have experienced UV degradation, nor should you lend your helmet to others, as it can affect how the helmet fits your head when returned.
  • Remember – helmets are produced in a range of sizes to satisfy a mass market. Your head shape and size are unique to you, so take the time to follow these steps when buying your new helmet.

Have your head measured

Step 1 Measure around the largest part of your head just above the ears, taking the measurement at the forehead. The measurement will correspond to a particular size in the model range you are interested in. This is a good starting point. If you want a particular brand or model, do not be tempted to go for another size if yours is out of stock – wait and get the correct size.

Step 2 Once you have the helmet in the recommended size, place it firmly on your head and secure the  chin-strap. If the helmet has a quick release buckle, take time to adjust the strap. Once fitted, you should be able to feel the inside of the helmet against all parts of your head. Once you are happy, wear the helmet for a few minutes to make sure it is comfortable.

Step 3 Try to rotate the helmet from side to side with the strap secured. Make sure the helmet does not rotate on your head. The cheek-pads should provide a firm, comfortable fit. Tilt the helmet forward and back. It should stay in position and not move. If it slips forward or back it is the wrong size and you will need to choose a different helmet.

Step 4 The final thing to check is that the helmet is secure and won’t come off easily. Tilt your head forward and have someone try to roll the helmet off your head by carefully applying an upward force to the rear of the helmet at its base. If it can be rolled off in the showroom with the chin-strap done up, it will most likely come off in a crash.