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Daily Mail reports Sikhs & Muslims allowed to ditch helmets under new Australian road rules

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Police in Canberra will no longer issue fines to riders not wearing a helmet for religious reasons. 

The new road safety regulations which quietly came into effect in December don't apply to other riders, who can be fined up to $344 if they're caught riding a bicycle or personal mobility device without a helmet.

ACT road minister Shane Rattenbury spruiked the new laws as particularly important to Sikhs, whose headwear made it difficult to wear a helmet.

'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,' the minister said in a statement on Wednesday.

'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.

Sikhs are exempt from wearing helmets while riding in South Australia, while other cyclists religious groups who wear headdresses are also exempt in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

New South Wales is now the only state without an exemption to its helmet laws, despite repeated lobbying attempts from impacted religious groups.