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SA Traffic Law Regarding Bicycle Helmet Fines?

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by Spokey Byclemore, 11 February 2016.

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  1. Spokey Byclemore

    11 February 2016
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    I have a couple of questions regarding Australia's mandatory bicycle helmet laws.

    1). Can police fine someone just for sitting on a bicycle without a helmet?

    I was threatened by police with a helmet fine, just for sitting on my stationary bicycle without a helmet on my head. I was sitting on my bike reading a flyer in a shop window and wasn't moving. My helmet was in my backpack. A patrol car pulled up and rolled down the window and yelled out to me to put my helmet on. I refused. The two officers got out and threatened to write me a ticket. I said "Go ahead, let's take it to court and see what the magistrate says". After a bit more banter, they issued me a stern warning and left.

    2). Is there an occasion where one's own safety trumps traffic law?

    I live in the country. I recently went on a long bike ride (70kms). I wore a helmet for the first half of the trip (morning), but as the day heated up I was starting to feel the effects of the sun on my helmet. I was very worried about my head overheating and suffering heat stroke, but I still had to get home. I soaked a T-shirt in water and wrapped it around my head like a bandana. This had the desired cooling effect and I was able to ride home very comfortably and safely. I wasn't concerned about police and the helmet law, I was more concerned for my own well-being.

    Thank you!
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    16 April 2014
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    Hi Spokey Byclemore,

    As to your first question, interestingly the Australian Road Rules state:

    "The rider of a bicycle must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider's head, unless the rider is exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet under another law of this jurisdiction" ....whereas... "A passenger on a bicycle that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the passenger's head."

    The definition of a rider is: "A rider is a person who is riding a motorbike, bicycle, animal or animal-drawn vehicle."

    "Ride" in the Rules dictionary further explains, "for the rider of a motorbike or animal-drawn vehicle, includes being in control of."

    Therefore, it would appear that simply sitting on a stationary push bike, would not trigger the requirement for a helmet, as long as you couldn't be classified as a "passenger".

    As to your second question, the debate regarding whether helmets are healthful or harmful is ongoing and it would depend on a case by case basis as to whether or not you would be able to avoid a fine in a situation where safety became an issue.

    The only exception to this rule in South Australia is for a person of the Sikh religion who is wearing a turban - they are exempt from wearing a bicycle helmet.
  3. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    27 September 2015
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    They could have written you up for riding your bike of the footpath too. So you got off light.

    As for the 'it was too hot' excuse. Don't even bother. I very much doubt a magistrate would let you off on that one.

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