Police in Canberra will no longer issue fines to riders who wear a headdress for religious reasons caught riding without a helmet.
The new road safety regulations, which quietly came into effect in December, won’t apply to other riders who will still be fined if they’re caught riding a bike or personal mobility device without a helmet in the nation’s capital.
ACT roads minister Shane Rattenbury spruiked the new laws as particularly important to Sikhs, whose headwear makes it difficult to wear a helmet while cycling.
Sikh and Muslim cyclists are now exempt from wearing a helmet in the ACT (stock image)
The new road safety regulations in Canberra came into effect in December (stock image)
‘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,’ the minister said in a statement on Wednesday.
‘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.
Riders are only exempt they’re a member of a religious group and are wearing a headdress that makes wearing a helmet impractical.
All other riders caught riding without a helmet can be fined.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted ACT Police for comment on the new laws.
ACT roads minister Shane Rattenbury (pictured) said the exemption was introduced in response to concerns raised by the community
FINES FOR CYCLISTS WITHOUT HELMETS
New South Wales: $344 (religious groups must still wear helmets)
South Australia: $153
Northern Territory: $25
Sikhs are exempt from wearing helmets while riding in South Australia, while other religious groups who wear headdresses are also exempt in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria.
New South Wales is now the only state without an exemption to its helmet laws, despite repeated lobbying attempts from impacted religious groups.
NSW cyclists caught riding not wearing a helmet cop a hefty $344 fine, while in Victoria, it’s $207.
In South Australia, the fine is $153, $126 in Queensland and $119.25 is Tasmania.
The lowest fine is $25 in the Northern Territory, where helmets aren’t compulsory for cyclists aged 17 and over.
The new laws don’t apply to other cyclists caught by police not wearing a helmet (stock image)