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The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has announced that it will be issuing a new notification for two-wheeler helmet standards starting 4 September this year. According to the Times Of India, sales of imported hemets will be allowed starting September 2020.
The Bureau said that the currency rule that was implemented during 2018 that stated helmets cannot over the 1.2kg weight limit will be lifted, essentially allowing for foreign brands to sell helmets in the country.
The rules implemented back in 2018 restricted the sale of helmets that did not feature the ISI standards mark and weighed more than 1.2kgs. Starting 4 September however, the Bureau will allow for imported helmets to be sold in the country as long they comply with the ISI norms.
Restrictions were implemented after testing regulations were changed by the Ministry of Transport with the aim of controlling sales of helmets that were of cheap quality and offered limited protection. The decision made it difficult for manufacturers and retailers of imported helmets.
The Government met with representatives of different manufacturers to understand the importance of better and higher quality and safer helmets, and why they should be allowed to be sold in the country.
The Ministry of Transport 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."
Mr Rajiv Kapur, the Managing Director at Steelbird Hi-Tech, and the President of the 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." he added.
The Helmet Manufacturers Association said they welcome the decision the Government has taken, and said that the decision is good news for manufacturers and customers alike.
The Association feels that the helmet market will grow over the next few years as people make a move towards personal mobility considering the Covid-19 situation.
Reports are that the number of imported helmets that retail in the country are under the one lakh mark but is expected to grow because of the increased demand of premium motorcycles in India.
In related news, the United Nations body that set safety standards for helmets in Europe have just announced an update to ECE 22.05 tests. Called the ECE 22.06, the new standards will be implemented starting 2023.
Thoughts About The Decision To Allow For Foreign Helmets To Be Sold In India
The Government finally seems to be making better decisions as far as motorcycling safety is concerned. The restrictions that were implemented during 2018 was a rather silly decision. Indian helmet manufacturers do not manufacture products that offer protection levels that foreign manufacturers offer.