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Old 10-21-2011, 01:40 AM   #16
rmhrc628
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneC1 View Post
The answer is simple

Guy & the others bashing their heads against a brick wall need people to start lobbing emails to pollies, AS and whoever else you can think of, lodge complaints to ACCC & fair trading. In these days of email and on line complaint forms it only takes a few minutes. I lodged a formal complaint with ACCC yesterday. It is a restraint of trade issue as well as a helmet issue.

Unless there is pressure then the situation wont change

One question in my mind is where do riders stand with insurance, CTP etc if the helmet is not strictly legal, does this in any way void any of the insurance covers in the case of an accident ?

Wayne

Here are some emails and responses :

My original email dated 10th Feb 2011 called for harmonisation to end the AS1698 standard.

Dear AS

I refer to previous communications in the matter and in particular your phone call today.

You advised me that a committee is setup to discuss and debate the Australian motorcycle helmet standard from time to time.

My view is that there is too much input from committees and not enough effort being put into best outcome for consumers (such as me)

The effect of the current standard (and all its unique parts) is that cheaper and lower standard helmets are dominating the retail shelves and consumers like myself are not being educated on world standards (because of the over reliance of what an Australian committee thinks is best for my skull.). In my case I buy my high quality helmets overseas (Arai, schueberth and shoei) at about 40-50% below the price sold here by Australian retailers (again if that model is sold here in the colour I like).Another benefit of buying overseas is better service and dealing with people who are interested in what they do rather than 98% of Australian retailers.

Incidentally these foreign helmets are no different to the ones sold in their respective home markets. I will continue to use the imported superior helmets over some as1698 standard as I'm not a "believer"in the ability of a committee representing 1% of the worlds population to adequately and commercially represent my interests of safety, choice and price. Basically I'd be happy to get rid of the committee and rely on the professionalism of the foreign safety bodies as they have far more resources, both financial and professionally. The Snell foundation for example is a fine choice of standard for Australia.

The facts are there are thousands of Australian riders using ROW (rest of the world) helmets and they all are better off whether your committee agrees or not. Riders are better off both on safety and financial grounds. It is not just 10% either. It's 40-50% cheaper. It is time the committee that is setting the AS1698 realise this and defer to any of the world standards to increase supply and competition in the Australian market place. I do not believe for one minute that safety is the sole domain of AS and so don't render them as being better than ROW. (which to be honest should be the sole goal - ROW standards)

Australian Standards as an organisation needs to realise the global world is going to render their unique motorcycle helmet standards unworkable, obsolete and impratical.(if they havent already been usurped by the ability to buy the world's best helmets as rates cheaper than any Australian retailer can provide. (again if they can even provide them).

Australian standards need to become far more of a "tick and stamp"organisation and weight world standards well ahead of some unique domestic Australian standard. Ie disregard unique Australian standards and use foreign well established standards.

A classic example of the outcome of the as1698 is that I can walk into Peter Stevens today and buy an AS1698 certified helmet for $199 which is technically legal and pleases the Australian retailer, but be worse off from a safety point of view because I cannot use my $550 Arai VX3 pro snell 2005, ECE, Japanese certified helmet. Any practical comparison between the cheap $199 AS1698 helmet and my foreign purchased Arai VX3 pro renders the cheap $199 helmet as useless and a far worse safety helmet. Is AS aware of this issue?

I'm extremely annoyed at AS1698 for not using foreign standards and trying to create standards that cost everyone a fortune and in the end only low end suppliers comply with. The best helmet manufacturers like Arai, Schuberth or Shoei simply refuse supply if asked to comply with unique Australian standards.

I summary I wish to advise as follows:

1. That the committee be advised in writing that unless harmonisation with world helmet standards is achieved in 4 months from this date the committee will be disbanded and have no further input into motorcycle standard setting. The logic being that world standard is sufficient for an Australian head. I'm happy to advise which standards can be imputed to the AS1698 standards if they cannot.

2. In any event, the AS1698 standard is to defer in all cases to the following by stating that if a helmet meets one or two of the following then it will be deemed to meet AS1698 (at time of manufacture of course)

Current US Snell standard
Current ANSI standard
Current US DOT standard
Current Japanese standard
Current ECE standard
Current British standard
Current TUV standard

3. That if the committee achieves harmonisation within the prescribed time frame set, they move onto adopting one of the world standards on motorcycle safety clothing to give them something to do. Again if the committee cannot work this out by 31st October 2011 then they again be advised of their disbanding and dissolution forthwith. I would be happy to assist the committee to make a decision on clothing so that I'm safer on the roads.

4. No sticker or marking is required from any AS associated entity, body or class of people attesting the the helmet standard. Compliance with the above standards will be deemed compliance with AS1698. There will be no separate AS1698 markings required. If you require assistance to draft the revised standard then Im happy to draft it on behalf of AS.

5. That the committee gradually reduce its numbers of people by a method of removing members who have not advised adoption of world standards within the past 2 years on helmets or safety equipment. This will put the focus into members being encouraged to adopt world standards, not bespoke, unique Australian standards. That as the committee size is reduced a max number of 3 individuals be the limit of the committee size. Otherwise nil is the ideal. The objective must be world standard not unique filtered Australian standards or part thereof.

I will be following progress up over the next few months of my suggestions - suffice to say I will be seeing the above changes implemented over time as they are in the best interests of consumers, of which Im one. My requests are not complicated, onerous or difficult. They are consistent with Australia's position in the world which is not a standard setter.My head is not unique so unique onerous standards should not be set. Whilst a noble idea, unique Australian standards are reducing choice of helmets. I wish to see that changed as I believe in great capitalist world, not one of de facto barriers to entry. AS needs to focus energy on adoption of new standards covering equipment for example and move away from helmet standard setting.



Standards Australia to me
show details Mar 22
Dear Robert,

Thank you for the email.

Your concerns have been brought to the attention of the Committee.




I again emailed them on 4th April asking for progress:

Further to my phone conversation of 28 March 2011 with XXXXX XXXXXXX I request a response in writing to my email dated 22 March 2011 where I requested a reply to an earlier email dated 10 February 2011.

In addition I would like to know when the matters will be addressed and responded to in writing.

Please make no mistake - I will be following this matter up until progress is made.

So if it takes 12 months to get a reply from you - or I take the matter up with the ombudsman then so be it, I'll be happy to do it. I might take up with with ministers of the government - but this matter is not going away. Progress must be made toward harmonisation and more reliance upon world regulations.

I'll reiterate what SA is about (quoted from your website):

About Standards Australia

Standards Australia is the nation’s peak non-government Standards organisation. It is charged by the Commonwealth Government to meet Australia’s need for contemporary, internationally aligned Standards and related services.


I am obviously progress toward internationally aligned helmet standards. by simple deferral to such standards as:

> Current US Snell standard
>
> Current ANSI standard
>
> Current US DOT standard
>
> Current Japanese standard
>
> Current ECE standard
>
> Current British standard
>
> Current TUV standard

If you need any assistance in rewriting the legislation then please let me know as I would be only too happy to rewrite the legislation.


Followed up again:

date Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 8:16 AM
subject Re: FW: AS1698 - attendion JXXXXX
mailed-by gmail.com
hide details Jul 13

Can you please advise how much longer it is going to take before this change occurs?


I started this process on February 10th this year.

It is now 5 months since that was done.

please advise at once.


I sent another followup on October 7 - no response so far

I think as I threatened in my original submission it's time to go to the ombudman and use the ACCC against AS.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:16 PM   #17
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Minority groups actually responsible for legislative change are few and far between, although it seems they run the joint. This is mainly due to VERY loud and vocal minoritys attaining a small incremental change, and then the media having got bored with it all and moved on, it SEEMS as if the minority has won the day.

I only say this crap because as motorbicyclists we are a minority group, and against us is the prevalent "temporary Aussie" mentality in broader society, which the media seems to love. For us to effect any change in policy will involve much wailing and gnashing of teeth, while getting the media to think it's an interesting story. It seems in todays Oz, common sense or practical rationality is unlikely to be applied to legislature, instead the money trail of research grants, corporate "sponsorship", and Govt "worksafe" programs guarantee continual useless change (known broadly as "evolution") for the sake of it.

It wasn't that long ago I rode with no helmet at all down to the shops (small town), the wind-in-the-hair stuff at 60kph, because I enjoyed the feeling. On the highway, yep, helmet, the "feel-good" feeling overridden by my sense of perservation! My point being that in broader society, us Aussies tend to do what we like despite Govt urgings, whether it be watering the lawn on the wrong day of the week to save our garden, going to the beach and getting sunburnt occasionally, sitting on 105kph in a 100 zone, etc. When it comes to bikes however, we just seem to get all hung up on legalities suddenly.

I sometimes think the best way to approach the problem (for me personally), is to say "fukkem", and just ride anyway. To fix the problem requires more noise and whinging than I'm prepared to give.

I hope you can get the changes through mate, but it sounds like you're just about over it all, understandably.
Don't pop-a-pooper doing it though, makes it hard to enjoy riding when you're done.
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Old 10-21-2011, 05:45 PM   #18
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rmhrc628 it is an absolute waste of time talking to Australian Standards.
They have a vested interest and do NOT write the law.

Australian state and federal governments need to be hammered over an extended period of time to get any change.
.
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:25 PM   #19
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I am finding it really difficult to understand why people are getting bent out of shape about this issue. Does anyone have any facts about the number of people across the country each year who get booked because they are wearing a helmet from a recognised manufacturer, but without the right sticker? Or booked for the issues identified in the original article? I have been riding for thirty years and have been booked in the ACT, Qld, SA, NSW and WA and not once has any cop shown even the slightest interest in the type of helmet I have been wearing. Is this an issue that may present a theoretical problem, but in practical terms is a complete non-event? It certainly looks like that to me. I would be very interested to hear from people who find this issue deeply upsetting as to why they do. Particularly when it seems that in reality it appears to have zero impact.
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:39 PM   #20
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I for one am not and will not get bent out of shape over this issue but the bottom line is that at the current time it would appear it is not actually legal for us to do what we are all doing on a daily basis, especially when we cross state boundaries

This leaves some real questions re insurance coverage etc in the case of accidents and legal liabilities for any business who purchases helmets for use by staff not to mention those who organise events like APC & ride days

We have people like Guy Stanford and others who are prepared to spend their time keeping an eye on these things, sitting on committees etc & I figure the least we can do is support them not knock them

How much time does it take to fire off an email complaint to increase pressure on pollies and others to act
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:53 PM   #21
grogger123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneC1 View Post
I for one am not and will not get bent out of shape over this issue but the bottom line is that at the current time it would appear it is not actually legal for us to do what we are all doing on a daily basis, especially when we cross state boundaries

This leaves some real questions re insurance coverage etc in the case of accidents and legal liabilities for any business who purchases helmets for use by staff not to mention those who organise events like APC & ride days

We have people like Guy Stanford and others who are prepared to spend their time keeping an eye on these things, sitting on committees etc & I figure the least we can do is support them not knock them

How much time does it take to fire off an email complaint to increase pressure on pollies and others to act

Thanks for the reply. I get back to my original point. In practical terms, what evidence is there that this has actually presented itself as a problem? It has been identified as a theoretical problem, but what are the details of the individuals who have actually been affected by this in reality? If Guy Stanford wants to spend his time on this, I am sure he will, irrespective of my views.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:17 PM   #22
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Sticking our heads in the sand until it becomes a problem is not real smart

I recall the issue of exhaust laws in NSW where EPA took over from RTA/police with different laws to the rest of Oz & then we had noise checks & fines on Pacific Hwy north of Sydney until NSW was pulled into line again

No one paid any attention to what the NSW Govt had done until it was too late & it cost quite a few riders considerable amounts of money in fines & defect notices for exhausts which were legal under ADR in the other states

In this case we are being told there is a problem, that there are people working on it & to be aware if it, which we now are.

To push it along a complaint here & there would not go astray.
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:36 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grogger123 View Post
In practical terms, what evidence is there that this has actually presented itself as a problem?
I'm not really worried about a fine from the police, since it'd probably be less than the amount saved buying a helmet overseas anyway.

I'm more concerned with some insurance company searching for any loophole to avoid a payout, and I don't wanna be among the first to test the law the hard way.
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Old 10-22-2011, 07:07 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by abhibeckert View Post
I'm not really worried about a fine from the police, since it'd probably be less than the amount saved buying a helmet overseas anyway.

I'm more concerned with some insurance company searching for any loophole to avoid a payout, and I don't wanna be among the first to test the law the hard way.
Why would that worry you, you don't have insurance remember
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Old 10-22-2011, 07:25 AM   #25
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Only the small issue of CTP
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Old 10-22-2011, 08:58 AM   #26
grogger123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneC1 View Post
Sticking our heads in the sand until it becomes a problem is not real smart

I recall the issue of exhaust laws in NSW where EPA took over from RTA/police with different laws to the rest of Oz & then we had noise checks & fines on Pacific Hwy north of Sydney until NSW was pulled into line again

No one paid any attention to what the NSW Govt had done until it was too late & it cost quite a few riders considerable amounts of money in fines & defect notices for exhausts which were legal under ADR in the other states

In this case we are being told there is a problem, that there are people working on it & to be aware if it, which we now are.

To push it along a complaint here & there would not go astray.
Is it fair to say, that at this point in time you are not aware of the existence of any evidence to support the assertions made in the article about the practical impacts on riders? I note that in the article Guy Stanford makes a number of assertions about legal issues. Is he a lawyer? Does he currently practise the law? If he is a lawyer is his legal experience in respect of insurance, consumer protection and traffic matters? In the article he makes reference to "thousands"of people having purchased helmets from overseas. What evidence does he have to support this assertion? He certainly hasnt provided any references to source material so this assertion can be independently verified.

My opinion of the article is that whilst it was passionately argued, it was clearly an opinion piece. Unfortunately, he asserts he giving us "the truth". It may or may not be. Unfortunately the article makes a lot of assertions, but provides no evidence. In the absence of evidence, I for one am skeptical about the assertions he makes. I certainly will be very guarded about how much credence I place about a persons opinion on the law if they are not trained in it. I have checked the website of the NSW Law Society, and whilst there are five solicitors in NSW with the surname Stanford, four are women and the other one is a Charles Frederick Stanford. So on that basis I can only assume Guy Stanford does not hold a current practising certificate as a legal practitioner in NSW. If he is a practising solicitor, and I am not saying he isn't, he hasnt made that clear in the article.

I have no opinion on Guy Stanford as a person. I have no doubt he is a very fine individual who is passionate and committed to the interests of motorcycling and motorcyclists. No doubt he has worked very hard over a number of years to improve things for motorcyclists in NSW. What I am saying is that in this article a number of assertions are made. He does not appear on the NSW Law Society website as a current legal practioner. He makes a lot of comments on the state of the law. He provides no information in the article about his qualifications or expertise in this area of the law. Nor does he provide evidence to support the assertions he makes. Nor does the article quote any reference material to which the reader can themselves refer.

So I get back to my origional question. What evidence exists that this is anything other than a possible theoretical problem? If people are concerned about the impacts on them personally, either from the point of view of getting an infringement notice or having a possible future CTP claim disallowed, have they sought, or will they be seeking their own legal advice about this? If they do, I would be grateful if they share that advice with the rest of us.
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:11 PM   #27
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Well, I chickened out and bought a Icon Variant helmet from an Oz supplier. It wasn't much dearer than the US ones anyway.
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:25 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grogger123 View Post
Is it fair to say, that at this point in time you are not aware of the existence of any evidence to support the assertions made in the article about the practical impacts on riders? I note that in the article Guy Stanford makes a number of assertions about legal issues. Is he a lawyer? Does he currently practise the law? .....
Have you ever tried to get a legal opinion out of a lawyer ?
There are so many provisos that it is literally not worth the paper it is written on.

So the real question is 'Is Guys article an informed opinion piece which reflects the most likely outcome in NSW ?'
.
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:50 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by BurnieM View Post
Have you ever tried to get a legal opinion out of a lawyer ?
There are so many provisos that it is literally not worth the paper it is written on.

So the real question is 'Is Guys article an informed opinion piece which reflects the most likely outcome in NSW ?'
.

Yes, I have tried to get opinions from a solicitors. I have been happy with the advice I have been given.

As far as answering the question you pose above about Guys article. The answer for me is I dont know. I have no evidence as to how well qualified he is to make the assertions he does about the laws in question. I get back to my original point, what is the evidence upon which he is basing his assertions? If there is evidence, surely it would be something in the way of a legal opinion or a reference to case law? These being legal matters he discusses of course. Do you know of any evidence we could form opinions on?
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:24 AM   #30
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Thanks for the reply. I get back to my original point. In practical terms, what evidence is there that this has actually presented itself as a problem? It has been identified as a theoretical problem, but what are the details of the individuals who have actually been affected by this in reality? If Guy Stanford wants to spend his time on this, I am sure he will, irrespective of my views.
There is an inmate here (whose name I have forgottent on the grounds of strong drink and the lateness of te hour) whose brother suffered a significant, permanent (brain, I think) injury and his payment was significantly reduced because he was wearing a non-stickered helmet.
Enough evidence?
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