New road transport laws: Helmet exemption paves a road to inclusion


The ACT has recently introduced an exemption, on religious grounds, to mandatory helmet laws while riding a bicycle or personal mobility device.

Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said that the exemption, which commenced on 20 December 2019, will allow those in the community whose religious headwear prevents them from wearing a helmet to enjoy active travel.

“Canberra is a community where everyone should feel included. 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,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“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 bicycle helmet.

Under the regulation, a person is not required to wear a bicycle helmet, if the person is a member of a religious group; the person is wearing a type of headdress customarily worn by members of the group; and the wearing of the headdress makes it impractical for the person to wear an approved bicycle helmet.

“The changes bring the ACT into line with Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia which already have similar exemptions in place. Helmet laws will remain in place for all other cyclists and there is no exemption for motorcycle riders,” said Mr Rattenbury.