The people who are exempt from wearing bike helmets under new law

Olivia Lambert
News Editor

Canberra has introduced new laws that mean helmets will no longer be mandatory for every citizen.

The laws, which came into effect on December 20, exempt people from wearing the helmets while riding a bicycle or personal mobility device on religious grounds.

ACT Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said in a statement the exemption laws would be more inclusive for people in the community whose religious headwear prevented them from wearing helmets.

“Canberra is a community where everyone should feel included,” he said in a statement.

“The territory supports individuals practising their religion or belief and this regulation ensures that sections of the community are not excluded from active forms of transport.

People in the ACT are exempt from wearing helmets on religious grounds only. Source: Getty

“The change responds to an issue raised by the community, identifying this as a barrier to cycling. As an example, it is important to Sikh members of our community to wear religious headwear, and this can mean they can’t wear a bike helmet.”

Mr Rattenbury said a person did not have to wear a helmet if they were a member of a religious group, if they were wearing a headdress customarily worn by members of the group and if it made it impractical for a person to wear a bike helmet.

The new rule follows Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia who already have similar exemptions in place.

There is currently no law in place in NSW. The maximum fine for riding without a helmet in the ACT is $3200.

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