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News / Transport & Travel

Melbourne's illegal helmet-optional bike ride is back for 2020

A woman in a dress riding a bike smiling and not wearing a helmet.
Photograph: Supplied

On Saturday, March 14 cyclists around Australia are taking part in a public bike ride – and some will be breaking the law by going bareheaded.

Organised by the Freestyle Cyclists, the ride is intended to raise awareness of cycling as a healthy and sustainable mode of transport. The group says Australia’s current bike laws – which require cyclists to wear a helmet or be fined – are holding back bikes as a major form of transport.

After a 14-month review, Australia’s major bicycle organisation Bicycle Network reviewed its policy on mandatory helmets. In 2018 it announced, "Australia’s mandatory helmet laws should be relaxed with a five-year trial permitting people older than 17 to choose whether they wear a helmet when riding on footpaths or off-road cycle paths".

Victorian law states that when riding a bicycle "you and any passengers must wear a properly fitting and fastened helmet unless you are riding on private property".

The Melbourne helmet optional bike ride will start at 10.45am on Saturday, March 14. Cyclists who wish to participate in the ride should meet outside Park Street Dining at 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North. The bike ride will traverse quiet back streets, dedicated bike paths and shared paths as it winds its way to its final destination, Abbotsford Convent. A picnic will follow the ride with participants invited to BYO food or purchase from the convent. 

Melbourne is also getting Uber's electric bicycle share program.

Try out one of the city's best bike trails.

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