The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will be implementing a new notification for two-wheeler helmet standards from September 4, 2020. According to a recent report, the new norms will see the 1.2 kg weight limit for helmets being done away with, which was implemented in 2018. The rule restricted the sale of imported helmets in India that did not carry the ISI mark and weighed considerably more than the weight cap under the BIS norms. However, the revised standard will allow the sale of imported helmets, though they will still need to comply with the Indian Standard (IS) norms.
The BIS had previously announced a weight cap from 700 grams to 1.2 kg on helmets sold in India, which also needed to carry the ISI certification mark. The rule was implemented after a change in the testing regulations by the transport ministry and was intended to curb the sale of cheap helmets that provided little to no protection. However, the more expensive and safer helmets that are imported in the country also had to bear the brunt of the blanket ban considering they do not carry an ISI mark nor weigh under 1.2 kg.
Nevertheless, the government did invite representatives from different players who highlighted the importance of better quality and safer helmets and why the access to purchase the same should not be blocked. The report further states that the transport ministry will issue a final notification soon for mandatory IS certification for helmets sold in India.
Quoting an official from the transport ministry who wished to remain anonymous, the report said, "We will give six months time for the quality control order (QCO) from the date of final notification to give enough time to all players to comply with the BIS norms. After the deadline, selling non-ISI helmets will be an offence."
Speaking to carandbike on the revised helmet regulations, Rajiv Kapur, MD - Steelbird Hi-Tech and President of Two-Wheeler Helmet Manufacturers Association said, "Due to the removal of the base (weight) cap, be it DOT standard, European helmets and other imported helmets, they can also qualify for ISI standard and the Indian government can allow for the import of the sales. Manufacturers producing European standard helmets in India can also have dual certification with the ISI mark, as well as CE or DOT mark on the helmets for sale in India."
Kapur added that 95 per cent of the helmet sales in India are for offerings between 700 grams and 1.2 kg. The move though is very good for motorcycle customers as well as manufacturers. Elaborating on the growth of the helmet market, he said that the segment is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years as helmet laws become mandatory in all parts of the country. Rules mandating the purchase of a helmet at the time of buying a two-wheeler will help boost sales, while the shift to personal mobility in the current times will also improve the sale of the safety gear.
The number of imported helmets sold in India is less than one lakh units per annum but the segment is expected to show immense growth with the rise in popularity of premium motorcycles and increased awareness towards safer riding. Earlier this year, the UN Body which sets safety standards for motorcycle helmets in Europe announced a major update to the ECE 22.05 test regime. The comprehensively updated standard will be called the ECE 22.06 and will be implemented from 2023 to keep up with the latest technology and research.