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a. Protective helmets

 

Probably we all know that drivers and passengers of motor cycles must wear helmets. But it is interesting to note the following:

  • Not all helmets are the same. We are not talking about the style or design of helmets. But drivers and passengers of motor cycles are required not just to wear any helmet; they must wear “approved protective helmets” which conform to the specifications and standards set out in Schedule 1 of the Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap. 374F of the Laws of Hong Kong of the Laws of Hong Kong).
  • Maximum penalty for not wearing an approved protective helmet while driving or riding as passenger on a motor cycle is a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment for 3 months (regulation 12 of the Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap. 374F of the Laws of Hong Kong) Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap.374F of the Laws of Hong Kong))). In most cases, the usual penalty would be a fine of $320 under the Fixed Penalty (Criminal Proceedings) Ordinance (Cap.240 of the Laws of Hong Kong).
  • Accordingly, it shall be an offence for anyone to sell or hire out any protective helmet other than an approved protective helmet; maximum penalty for doing so is also a fine of $5,000 or imprisonment for 3 months.
  • If a motor cycle is equipped with a side car, it is not compulsory for a passenger in the side car to wear an approved protective helmet (regulation 3(1) of the Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap. 374F of the Laws of Hong Kong) Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap.374F of the Laws of Hong Kong)).
  • While it is mandatory for riders and passengers of motor cycles to wear approved protective helmets, there is no such restriction in relation to motor tricycle.
  • According to regulation 10 of the Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap. 374F of the Laws of Hong Kong) Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap.374F of the Laws of Hong Kong), the Commissioner for Transport may exempt any person or any class of persons from the mandatory requirement of wearing approved protective helmets while driving or riding as passenger on a motor cycle. Religious reason is the most common grounds for application for exemption.
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