MoRTH drops 1.2 kg weight limit on helmets: What this means for international helmet brands

Come March 2021, helmets that are not certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will be banned in the country. However, the government is lifting the 1.2-kg or lower rule on helmet weight limit.

By:August 6, 2020 1:35 PM
non isi helmet banImage for representational purpose only

After having considered a lot of updates and outcomes of decisions on safety norms for two-wheeler crash helmets, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has now announced new norms that will come into effect on 1st March 2021. All helmets will now be required to bear ISI certification and the previous ban on helmets weighing over 1.2 kg has been lifted as well. The sale, stocking, and manufacturing of helmets that have not been certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will be banned.

The new norms under the order called the ‘Protective helmet for two-wheeler rider (Quality Control) Order, 2020’ will come into effect from 1st March 2020. The order defines the compulsory use of a standard mark under a licence from the BIS (except for helmets meant for export). Hence, helmets to be sold in India will need to bear IS 4151:2015 mark.

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While the previous ban on helmets weighing over 1.2 kg meant that foreign brands complying to much higher standards like ECE, Snell or Sharp would have to be excluded from the retail market entirely. Now though, the lifting of this ban means their products can be sold in India as is. However, they will require BIS certification before the manufacturer or a stakeholder can bring them in the market for sale. This means that the cost to the company or the stakeholder could rise substantially, hence, increasing prices for the end-user as well.

The ministry has invited the general public and stakeholders for views and advice on the matter. While this is a good move to ensure roadside helmets that meet no safety standards will be off the market and there can be safer helmets that are light and better ventilated for the masses, international manufacturers can continue to retail purpose-built helmets with higher safety standards.

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