Cyclists in South Africa will soon be forced to wear helmets when riding on public roads. South Africa is a fast emerging cycle-powerhouse, with a bevy of top-class pro riders and mass participation rides attracting 30 000+ riders (and former Tour de France winners). Rides such as the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay already have a 'no lid, no ride' policy but cycle advocates in South Africa are still up in arms about the new helmet law...

South Africa’s lid law comes into force in October

"It won’t be a problem for the ‘fun rides’ such as the Argus Tour, as the organisers have a ‘No helmet, no ride’ policy which is enforced for all funrides and races throughout the country," said David Cowie, webmaster at

"Everyone doing any organised event will have a helmet. It’s the poorer three-quarters of the cycling population who can barely afford a bike, let alone a helmet, too."

Cowie said the law "slipped through" unnoticed at the amendment stage.

"There’s a big fight ahead, but it seems unclear though at this stage what can be done. It seems to me this was a political decision without consultation.

"As far as enforcement goes, I doubt it will be. There are other far more important issues in South Africa that aren’t enforced."

The legisaltion was published on 5th October 2001 and comes into force on 5th October 2004. It is contained in regulation 207 of the National Road Traffic Regulations.


(1) No person shall drive or be a passenger on a motor cycle, motor tricycle or a motor quadrucycle, or be a passenger in the side-car attached to a motor cycle, on a public road, unless he or she is wearing a protective helmet—

(a) which is specially designed for use in connection with such cycle; and

(b) which fits him or her properly and of which the chin strap is properly fastened under the chin.

(2) After expiry of three years from the date of commencement of this regulation, no person shall drive or be a passenger on a pedal cycle on a public road unless he or she is wearing a protective helmet which fits him or her properly and of which the chin straps is properly fastened under the chin. (date 5 October 2004)

(3) The driver of a motor cycle, motor tricycle, motor quadrucycle or pedal cycle shall ensure that any passenger in or on such cycle who is younger than 14 years, complies with the provisions of subregulation (1) or (2), as the case may be.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of subregulations (1) and (3), the driver and passengers of a motor cycle—

(a) equipped with a seatbelt anchorages that comply with the requirements of standard specification SABS 1430 “Motor vehicle safety – anchorages for restraining devices in motor vehicles”, for the driver and passengers (if any);

(b) the engine of which can not move unless the driver and passengers (if any), of the motor cycle wears the seatbelt referred to in paragraph (a); and

(c) that complies with the requirements of annex II of the standard specification SABS 1440 “Motor vehicle safety – The steering mechanism of motor vehicles (M1 only) – behaviour on impact, may drive or be passengers on such motor cycle on a public road while not wearing a protective helmet.

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