Motorcycle police often ride around with the chin bar on their modular or flip-up helmets in the up position, but is it safe or legal?
It makes sense that a modular helmet worn open is not as safe as when it is worn as a full-face helmet.
In fact, the Hurt Report found that the most common area of impact is the chin at 19.4%.
Most modular helmet manufacturers recommend to users that they do not ride with the chin bar up.
Modular helmets certified
However, some have been able to have their modular helmets certified for use in the up position.
Australian Motorcycle Council helmet law expert Guy Stanford says helmets such as the Shark Evo are designed to be worn open.
That’s because The chin bar goes all the way over to the back of the helmet where it locks into position.
In that position it does not pose an aerodynamic impediment. Nor can it accidentally close and obstruct the rider’s view.
Open modular ‘not illegal’
However, neither Guy nor long-time helmet law campaigner Wayne Carruthers believe it is illegal to ride with the chin bar up.
There is no specific mention of chin bars in the Australia Road Rules.
However, it could be considered not being correctly fastened. Although that wording specifically refers only to a “chin strap”.
“No rules have really caught up with the Shark Evo type helmets designed to be ridden open or closed,” Wayne says.
“I doubt it would be feasible or appropriate to even try.”
Police modular helmets
As for police wearing helmets in the up position when riding, they believe it can be advantageous on occasions.
Besides, if there is an interpretation that it is illegal, they would not necessarily be bound by the road rules.
Police may be exempt from the road rules when responding to priority one or two jobs. For example, police wear helmet cameras despite them being considered illegal.
However, nether Wayne nor Guy have ever heard of anyone being fined for having the chin bar up.
Some riders understandably ride around city streets with the chin bar open on hot days.
However, few ride the open highways with the chin bar up. The wind drag is simply too tiring on the neck muscles.