Shane answers (some) cyclists’ prayers

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Sikh headwear gives cyclits a helmet exemption in the ACT. Photo: Dimitri Svetsikas

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.

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  1. Congratulations to Minister Rattenbury for his inclusive approach to this issue. I assume, however that the necessary legislative amendments provide that any cyclist not wearing a helmet because of this exemption who suffers a head injury or brain damage as a result of an accident or collision will not be eligible for compensation and that the driver of any car involved in a collision with a cyclist not wearing a helmet who suffers a head injury or brain damage or who dies and was not wearing a helmet because of this exemption will not be charged with an offence .

    I assume that any cyclist not wearing a helmet because of the exemption will also willingly forego pursuing any legal action against the driver of any car which they may come into contact with in the event they suffer a head injury or brain damage. That would , I am sure everyone would agree, only be fair.

    Jon Stanhope

  2. I might suggest Mr Stanhope have a read of the Mike Hall’s inquest proceedings because a general exemption from prosecution for running down cyclists on local roads seems to apply already.

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