RELIGIOUS grounds now give a cyclist in the ACT an exemption from wearing a safety helmet.
Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury has revealed that the exemption began on December 20 and allows those whose religious headwear prevents them from wearing a helmet to engage in 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,” he says.
“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, WA and SA, 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,” he says.