Do cyclists have to wear a helmet in Canberra?

Published 01 May 2018

Author: Nassir Bechara

The Australian Road Rules are applicable to all ACT road users, including cyclists, with particular safety regulations for this group. These laws clearly state that any person on a bike must wear a helmet if the bike is moving or unparked, in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Who does this apply to?
This rule applies to everyone, regardless of whether you are riding or a passenger on the bike. The rule also applies on any routes cyclists are able to use in the ACT, including public roads, private roads, off road trails or shared footpaths.

There are, however, some exceptions:

  • You are exempt from wearing a helmet if you have a cultural or religious reason not to wear one.
  • A medical condition that prevents you from covering your head would also make you exempt from ACT bicycle helmet laws.
  • Finally, if you have the bike’s kick stand down, you are considered parked and therefore don’t have to wear your helmet.

What are the helmet requirements?
The cycling helmet you use has to meet the relevant Australian Standards for safety in the ACT and have been approved by the state road transport authority. Any compliant helmet will have an Australian Standards approval sticker on the inside. If you are caught with a helmet that doesn’t meet these strength and safety requirements, you’ll be eligible for a fine.

Additionally, the helmet has to be properly fitted and securely fastened to your head while the bike isn’t parked. If the helmet is ill-fitting or isn’t properly fastened (so could come off when riding), you again may be eligible for a fine.

What happens if I crash while cycling without a helmet in the ACT?
While the ACT’s laws are tough on cyclists who ride without a helmet, it isn’t always the riders to blame for a crash. If you crash because of a pothole or unmarked turn that’s meant to be maintained by the City Council or other public service, you’re not at fault for the accident. In this case, you may be able to claim compensation from the offending party for your medical and other trauma expenses.

If you have suffered a crash that you believe isn’t your fault, you should consult with an expert solicitor. For more information, contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for a free consultation on your case.