Helmet rules for bikes, scooters and skateboards in Victoria

A woman and child wearing helmets as they cycle along a bike path

Nicola Dowse

Posted April 03, 2023

Cyclists aren’t the only ones who need to strap on a helmet. This is when, where and why you need to wear a helmet in Victoria, and how to choose the best one for you. 

There are a lot of benefits to cycling. It’s a healthy and cost-effective form of transport that also has an extremely low impact on the environment. 

But just like there is safety equipment that you must use while driving, there’s safety equipment you must use while cycling too. Namely, a helmet to protect your head from injuries. 

Mandatory helmet laws have been in place in Victoria for more than 30 years, having first been enacted in 1990. Since then, they’ve been expanded to include new forms of transport such as e-scooters and other electric personal transportation devices.

A man strapping a helmet to his head before riding an escooter

It's not just bikes that require a helmet - e-scooter riders must wear a helmet too. Photo: Charlie Kinross.

When do I need to wear a helmet in Victoria?

In Victoria, all cyclists, scooter (including e-scooter) and electric personal transportation (electric unicycles, segways etc) riders must wear a helmet. This rule applies to all ages whenever you’re riding in a public place such as on the road, in a bicycle lane, on a shared path, in carparks, on the footpath (for cyclists under 13 or accompanying such a cyclist) and in parks. Even passengers on a bike (such as a child in an approved child seat attachment or bike trailer) are legally required to wear a bike helmet.  

There are a limited number of exemptions to this law for medical reasons, refer to VicRoads for further information. 

If you do not wear an approved helmet while riding, police have the power to stop you and issue either a warning or a fine. Fines for failing to wear a helmet or carrying a passenger who is not wearing a helmet range from $231 to $925, depending on whether you decide to take the matter to court.  

Equestrians should also note that it is mandatory for horse riders aged under 18 to wear a helmet when riding their animal on the road, footpath or a road-related area. Any horseback passengers under 18 must also wear a helmet – fines of up to $925 apply.

Those using a non-electric wheeled recreation device such as a skateboard, rollers skates or rollerblades (not scooters) are not required by law to wear a helmet. However, RACV recommends wearing a helmet if using one of these devices, in addition to other safety equipment such as knee and elbow pads.  

When travelling interstate, be mindful that all Australian states and territories now have mandatory helmet laws in place for cyclists riding on the road and may have additional laws in place for e-scooters and other transportation devices. Check with local authorities for clarification. 


A couple cycling on a gravel track near the bay in Melbourne

You're required to wear a helmet in Victoria if you're cycling anywhere other than on private property. Photo: Getty.

Why is it important to wear a helmet?

Wearing a helmet isn’t just important to avoid a fine. Research shows that a well-fitted, approved helmet is one of best things you can do to protect yourself from head injuries while cycling, riding an e-scooter or other transportation device.  

In the year following the introduction of mandatory helmet laws in Victoria on July 1, 1990, the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) reported that there was a reduction of between 37 - 51 per cent in the number of cyclists killed or admitted to hospital. 

MUARC’s research also found a 21 - 24 per cent drop in the number of seriously injured cyclists who also sustained a head injury, indicating that even if they sustained serious injury, their head was protected while wearing a helmet.  

According to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), helmets work by reducing how much kinetic energy the brain is hit with during a crash or fall. This reduction in turn reduces the chance of death or traumatic brain injury. AHPCC estimates the lifetime cost of a traumatic brain injury ranges between 2.5 to 4.8 million depending on the severity.

A more recent study conducted by the University of NSW in 2017 also demonstrated the safety benefits of helmets. After analysing 60,000 bicycle crashes globally, researchers found was that wearing a helmet halves your chance of head injury, reduces your risk of serious head injury by 69 per cent, and your chance of facial injury by 33 per cent. 


A girl smiling as she clips a pink bicycle helmet to her head

Having your kids help choose their bike helmet can encourage them to wear it. Photo: Getty.

Choosing the best helmet for you and your kids

Check that the helmet is approved for use 

The most important thing to check when buying a helmet is that it’s safe and approved for use in Australia. Usually, you can confirm this by examining the inside of the helmet for a label that states it is certified to meet Australian Standards. If you’re shopping for your helmet online, buy it from a reputable retailer that states on their website if the helmet meets or exceeds the national standards. 

Bike helmets can be used not only as bicycle helmets, but as scooter helmets, skate helmets, and as helmets for roller skating and rollerblading. Whatever helmet you choose to wear, just ensure it’s certified to Australian standards.

Ensure that the helmet fits correctly

Try the helmet on to check for fit. It should be snug but not uncomfortable and sit so that you can fit just two-fingers between the helmet and your brow line. The straps should be flush against your head and the helmet should not be able to be pulled forward on your head once adjusted correctly. 

Helmets can come in basic sizes (such as small, medium and large) as well as one size fits all. In-mold helmets tend to be more expensive as the shock-absorbing foam and plastic shell are created as one, fused-together product which tend to be more durable. Both in-mold and other helmets, such as hardshell, can meet the Australian Standards, however. 

How to get your child to wear a helmet

One of the best ways to get your child wearing their helmet is to lead by example and make sure you always wear one too. Explain to them why helmets are important and make wearing their helmet an enjoyable experience to help cement this habit early. It may be helpful to have your child help select their helmet or choose a helmet in a colour or pattern they’ll like.  

For adults, choosing a helmet in a bright colour with (or adding) reflective strips helps improve safety.

Caring and replacing your helmet

Keep your helmet in a clean, dry area of your home ideally close to wear you keep your bike (to minimise the chance of forgetting it). Avoid dropping or banging your helmet as this can reduce its ability to weather an impact should you have a crash.  

If you do crash and your helmet hits the ground, you should replace it immediately even if the helmet shows no signs of damage.