The BC helmet laws transitioned on June 1, 2012, from one of the last bastions in the country permitting riders to wear little more than a bottle cap to meeting the safety standards of the DOT (United States Department of Transportation), ECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) or Snell (Snell Memorial Foundation). B.C. Reg. 26/58 reads:
1) For the purposes of section 194 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.318 (the Act), a motorcycle safety helmet that meets at least one of the following requirements is designated as an approved motorcycle safety helmet:
(a) certification in accordance with the Snell Memorial Foundation 2005 Standard for Protective Headgear For Use with Motorcycles and Other Motorized Vehicles, as amended from time to time before or after making of this regulation;
(b) certification in accordance with the Snell Memorial Foundation 2010 Standard for Protective Headgear For Use with Motorcycles and Other Motorized Vehicles, as amended from time to time before or after making of this regulation;
(c) conformance with the DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218; Motorcycle helmets (United States of America), also known as FMVSS 218 (49 CFR 571.218), as amended from time to time before or after making of this regulation;
(d) approval in accordance with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) ECERegulation No 22 –Uniform provisions concerning the approval of protective helmets and of their visors for drivers and passengers of motorcycles and mopeds, as amended from time to time before or after making of this regulation.
Of further interest is the legislative change permitting law enforcement to confiscate helmets that do not conform to the new law. Failing to produce a helmet on request can lead to charges of obstruction and fines. Riders should be aware of s. 194 of the Motor Vehicle Act, which states: Section 194 ( 8 ) Without a warrant, a peace officer may
( a ) demand that a person produce a motorcycle safety helmet to allow the peace officer to determine whether the motorcycle safety helmet complies with subsection (3), and
( b ) seize the motorcycle safety helmet if, on production of the motorcycle safety helmet, the peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has contravened subsection (3) or (4). ( 9 ) A person commits an offence if the person obstructs or attempts to obstruct a peace officer acting under the authority of subsection (8).
The only exception to the Act and Regulations are those riders adhering to the Motorcycle Safety Helmet Exemption Regulation, B.C. Reg. 237/99;
1 The following persons are exempt from the requirements of section 221 of the Motor Vehicle Act:
(a) a person who
(i) practices the Sikh religion; and
(ii) has unshorn hair and habitually wears a turban composed of 5 or more square meters of cloth.
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