Exemptions to the bicycle helmet law in Australia

Northern Territory

Adults are exempts on bicycle paths, footpaths and off roads.

The law is rarely enforced.

New South Wales

Paying passengers on pedicabs are exempt.

The law is rarely enforced.

If you do get a fine, you can challenge it in court. Several people have done it.

Western Australia

You can get an exemption for medical reasons.

People who cannot wear a helmet for religious reasons are exempt.

The law is rarely enforced.

Australia Capital Territory

The law states that cyclist should not cycle without a helmet “without a reasonable excuse”.

The law is rarely enforced.


Paying passengers on pedicabs are exempt.

People who cannot wear a helmet for religious reasons are exempt.

A medical exemption is available.

Enforcement varies across towns.

South Australia

Members of the Sikh religion are exempt.

Enforcement varies across towns.


Paying passengers on pedicabs are exempt.

You can get an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

Enforcement varies across towns.

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9 thoughts on “Exemptions”

  1. I was riding on a suburban street in Orange NSW with my helmet on, but without the strap being secured. I tend to gag when the strap is secured.I also had a hi-vis vest on. A friendly highway patrol officer pulled me over and fined me $330 for not having my helmet secured.
    I was polite and tried to get the friendly officer to issue me a warning to no avail. As he was telling for the third time that this conversation was being recorded I told the constable that I was going to leave now (Otherwise I was going to lose my temper).
    What would be the best argument to use if I were to fight the fine in court.

    1. You can take it to Magistrates Court, explain how the helmet strap affects you and ask for the charge to be dismissed as trivial.
      Or you could tell the prosecution you plan to plead not guilty because of the problem, which will result in a negotiation in which they may offer a plea bargain, plead guilty to have it dismissed.
      If you do go to court, Freestyle Cyclists has a fund to pay fines and court costs.

  2. Is anyone one aware if you can get a national excemption for medical reason not to wear a bicycle helmet as i can never wear any helmet with a chin strap as it has been removed and i would like to ride a bicycle again.

    1. Not national. Victoria has provision for exemption based on (inter alia) medical grounds, NSW I think has no grounds, QLD has religious exemption. A doctors certificate has no legal force but will usually persuade police not to book you.
      What state/territory are you in?

  3. Savneet, you will need to write to VicRoads stating that you are a Sikh, and that you are required by your religious beliefs to wear a turban at all times in public. As this cannot be done with a helmet, you are seeking an exemption from the requirement to wear a bicycle helmet. You may be asked to verify your statment with a statutory declaration, or a letter from an authorised member of your religious community.
    Good luck, and keep us posted on how you go.

  4. are sikhs exempted or need to apply for exemption from wearing a helmet in victoria?
    if needed to apply then how to do it as vicroads website provides a form only for medical exemption.

  5. Hi,
    I am living in Canberra. As I came to know from your website that every state either has exempted sikhs to wear bicycle helmets or sikhs can apply for exemption (like in Victoria).
    Is there any such exemption that I can apply in ACT and how I can apply?

    Navdeep Singh

    1. Unfortunately there is no exemption for sikhs in the ACT.
      There is a push to review the helmet law in the ACT. It might be worthwhile requesting an exemption for sikhs as part of it.

  6. Cyclists have been used for propagandist reasons right from the start. The present archaic and deadly transport mess in Australia will continue to smash people up. The mobile chicanes of helmet clad cyclists create a sight which says “safety”, as if there is some kind of regulation to it all. What is more it creates an us and them which is sadly completely unnecessary.

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