What is the law in the UK for motorcycle visors?
If you ride on a public road using a visor or with goggles they must meet the requirements of either:
The British Standard and display a BSI Kitemark
The European standard offering at least the same safety and protection as the British Standard and carry a mark equivalent to the BSI Kitemark (UNECE Regulation 22.05)
If your visor does not carry either of these certification marks (even if it is a clear visor) you are breaking the law.
Only clear visors and lightly tinted visors (which must have a light transmission of no less than 50% - that is, they must allow more than 50% of available light to pass through) will meet these standards.
Any visors with a light transmission lower/darker than 50% (be them iridium or any other tinted option) will not meet these requirements and are not considered legal to use on a public road in the UK and other regions.
Any visor that does not carry the required certification marks is illegal to use on a public road at all times.
However, as we believe it, to ride with a non-approved visor in the UK is non-endorsable – that is, it does not attract penalty points. If this is your only reason for being stopped by the Police a fine is likely to be the worst case if you get stopped by a non sympathetic officer.
What eye protection should I use when riding a motorcycle?
When riding, you should always use a visor or goggles carrying an ECE, CE or BSI approval mark.
During daylight hours a lightly tinted visor allowing not less than 50% of available light to pass through is acceptable. Legal tinted visors will carry the same certification marks as a clear certified visor but will be marked "Daylight use only”.
The wording ‘Daytime Use Only’ is a recommendation – it is not illegal to use a certified tinted visor at any time, but any tinted visor is intended to protect you from bright sunlight and therefore not recommended for use at night or in any other low light situations.
A certified visor is not illegal to use at any time.
Remember that certified visors have been certified for a reason i.e. to meet the required safety standards for use on public roads – they have been tested and certified for this purpose.
The Highway code (rule No.94) gives the following advice. At night or in poor visibility, do not use tinted glasses, lenses or visors if they restrict your vision.
The Forward of the BS4110 1979/1999 Specification for Eye-Protectors for Vehicle Users advises: "Unlike the protection given to the head by a helmet, a visor gives little protection to the face in the event of an impact against the road or another vehicle and is intended solely as a protection for the eyes against the weather and small flying objects”.
How do I know if my visor is certified and legal to use on a UK public road?
Only certified visors are legal to use on a UK public road.
You will find these certification marks indelibly marked on the visor, and will either be, the British Standard Kitemark, or the European certification mark.
If a visor or pair of goggles does not have the required certification mark for motorcycle use they will be illegal to use on a public highway – you simply cannot use any old pair of goggles (such as goggles for skiing or other intended use) on a public highway.
For any visor to meet the required standards they will be tested for optical quality, impact resistance, colour recognition and abrasion resistance.
Is it illegal to use a black visor, iridium visor or dark tinted visor on a public road?
Yes it is illegal to use any non certified visor or eye protector for vehicle use on a public highway at any time.
That includes non certified clear, visors, all Dark tints, most iridium visors (there are a few iridium visors that have been certified but they are almost clear in appearance).
It does not matter what colour the visor is - if it is not certified, it is not legal for public road use.
Generally speaking most reasonable traffic police officers regard the tinted visor law as foolish. Many will take a common sense approach to dark tinted visors when used in the conditions that they are intended for – i.e. in strong sunshine or bright conditions. The problem will arise if you are using a dark tinted or non certified visor when the conditions would not be considered acceptable to do so such as at night or if you are involved in a road traffic accident. You should be asking yourself - why would you want to ride with a dark tinted visor at night or in low light conditions anyway?
Bob Heath Visors manufactured replacement dark tinted visors (which are not certified for public road use) have a light transmission of approximately 20%. This follows a recommendation contained in guide lines of BS2724 'general purpose sun glare eye protectors' (for such usages as driving a car, school bus, truck etc) where a light transmission of between 18% and 29% is recommended. Because eye protectors for vehicle users are not subject to the same sun protection levels as 'general purpose sun glare eye protectors this makes dark visors illegal to use on a UK public road (and possibly other regions). The main difference between Bob Heath replacement dark tinted visors and many others is that we have actually had our visors tested to all of the tests of the British standard BS4110 and the light transmission is the only part of the standard that the visor will not meet.
So to recap – any visor that does not carry the required certification marks is illegal to use on a public road at all times. However, as we believe it, to ride with a non-approved visor in the UK is non-endorsable – that is, it does not attract penalty points. If this is your only reason for being stopped in normal daylight conditions, a fine is likely to be the worst case if you get stopped by a non sympathetic Police officer.
Why are Dark tinted, iridium and non certified visors available if they can’t be used legally on a public road?
Many riders have a legitimate use for dark tints and iridium visors for circuit racing, track days or on private roads. For those who tour with their motorcycles there are countries that do not have visor laws at all or such strict laws as the UK.
How do I find out which visor I require ?
First we would suggest that you check your original visor to see if it is marked with a manufacturers part number. Certain manufacturers such as AGV, Arai, and Shoei generally mark their visors with a part number. This part number can be referred to when searching for a replacement visor. The difficulty can sometimes be that there are a lot of markings on the visor and knowing which ones are actually the part number can be confusing. If you already have a Bob Heath replacement visor you can refer to the part number that we apply to our replacement parts - this will begin BHV followed by the part number i.e. BHV597
If you cannot find a part number on the visor then check your helmet to see if it has a model name marked on the outside or inside on the comfort lining or helmet strap. Sometimes they are marked underneath the comfort lining on the polystyrene liner. If you cannot find any model markings at all the we suggest you take some pictures of your helmet with the visor fitted and then removed to show clearly the visor mounting area . You can then e-mail these pictures to us and we will try to identify your helmet and visor for you.
What things should I consider when purchasing a new replacement visor?
Bob Heath Visors recommend that you use a certified visor at all times for public road use.
If you intend to use a non certified visor check if it has been tested to a standard - do you really want to protect your eyes with a visor that has never been tested to any standard and may not be safe to use? Don’t be fooled by claims that they are made to the same standards as high quality brands that have been approved. If a seller is that confident that they are made to such high standards why have they not been tested? Ask for some proof of testing - a good supplier should be able to provide some evidence of the visor being fit for purpose shouldn’t they?
Before purchasing ask the questions like:
- Does the visor meet the impact standard of the British or European standards?
(This is very important as you really do not not want to use a visor that could break or allow a stone to pass through while riding at any speed).
- Does it meet the optical clarity tests?
(Important that is it optical correct and fit for propose)
Does it have an abrasion resistant coating to help resist scratches?
(Scratched visors can be dangerous so a visor that is uncoated will deteriorate very quickly - even through cleaning and will become unsafe quickly)
- Does it meet the colour recognition tests?
(This is very important as some colours and tints will affect traffic signal recognition, scientific research indicates pink, blue and green lenses should generally NOT be worn while driving as they can make red lights indistinguishable. Eye protectors in these hues labelled as safe for driving are the exception – the intensity of the featured lens colour can make a significant difference safety-wise. The best tinted visors for public road will be brown and grey tints, this is because they are colour-neutral, meaning they do not alter how colours appear when worn and will not significantly effect any traffic signal colour recognition).
What is the best way to clean my visor ?
We always recommend cleaning your visor on a regular basis as traffic film and dirt on your visor will reduce your vision.
Where possible always clean your visor after use and avoid leaving dirt, traffic film or debris such as bugs or flies on your visor for long periods. The quicker you remove this kind of dirt the easier it will be to clean off.
All visor manufacture recommended cleaning your visor by washing with warm neutral water and a soft cloth only.
Never allow your visor to come into contact with petrol/fumes, solvents, paints, adhesives or rain repellents unless recommended.
Any hard debris sitting on your visor surface for an extended period of time, should be firstly softened with warm neutral soapy
water before trying to remove it as this helps prevent it scratching of the visor surface.
(Soaking a clean cloth with mild soapy water and laying it over the visor for a while will help)
Please do not excessively rub the visor surface or use dirty cleaning materials as this can also lead to scratching. Paper tissues are abrasive and should be avoided.
For iridium or mirror visors it is recommended to take extra care as these visor surfaces do not have hard abrasion resistant coating and are much more sensitive to scratching.
If you have an anti-fog treated visor, never submerse this is water as this will have a negative effect on the coating and can cause the anti-fog coating to disintegrate. Follow the instructions supplied by the manufacturer to the letter – never use alcohol or harsh chemicals on anti fog visors – these are specialist coatings and require specialist cleaning and treatment. Incorrect cleaning can cause disintegration or failure or the coating.
This is the cleaning advice we provide for Bob Heath replacement visors manufactured from Lexan Anti Fog sheet.
Firstly, to avoid unnecessary cleaning of the Anti fog inner coating we recommend cleaning the outer abrasion resistant coating. (Then check to see if the Anti fog inner coating requires cleaning).
To clean the outer coating, either dry polish with a soft clean cloth or clean with warm mild soapy water (then dry with a soft clean cloth).
Should the inner Anti Fog coating require cleaning, firstly try cleaning with a soft dry cloth (taking care as the Anti fog coating is not as abrasion resistant as the outer coating). Then if further cleaning is required either:
· Rinse clean under a cold tap water and carefully dry with a soft towel or cloth to remove and excess surface water, allow to dry and polish with a soft clean cloth.
· Clean with a soft clean cloth moistened with small amount of heptane (white spirit) and dry with a soft clean cloth.
It is recommend that you never clean this product with alcohols, rain repellents or any other non recommended product as they will affect the performance of the coating. Cleaning with non recommended solutions could severely affect the structural integrity of this material.
SCRATCHED EYE PROTECTORS ARE UNSAFE, IN BRIGHT SUNLIGHT, POOR VISIBILITY OR AT NIGHT AND SHOULD BE REPLACED.
Does a pillion need to use a certified visor?
Yes a pillions visor and helmet have to comply with exactly the same standards as the driver/rider.
The visor of a passenger in a sidecar does not have to meets these standards.
Any good advice for fellow bikers or anyone new to biking?
Yes - See and be seen.
Before setting off on any journey, make sure your visor is clean and free of smudges, scratches or marks which could impair and reduce your vision, especially in strong sunlight. Scratched or damaged visors should be replaced.
If you use any tinted visor on the road it is very good advice to carry a spare certified clear visor with you to change over to should the light conditions change or if you are delayed and have to ride at night. You will be far safer on the roads if you can see where you are going.
Applying an anti fog treatment is good advice and wearing a breath deflector in severe conditions will also help prevent fogging. If you ride in the rain – the use of a quality wiper such as the Bob Heath Vee Wipe will make riding safer – this is a must have accessory for anyone to carry and we cannot recommend it enough if you ever get caught out riding in the rain.
Wearing Hi-Viz clothing or bright colours when riding will help get you seen. Motorcyclists are vulnerable road users and although some motorists may claim that they never saw you it is a fact that wearing Hi-Viz clothing helps get you noticed.