Australia's strict bike helmet laws made headlines around the world this week when Adelaide police stopped Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson from riding his bicycle without a helmet. Despite being caught red-handed, the billionaire business magnate was let off with a warning. This got us to wondering: do police have a separate law for celebrities, or are all UK tourists given more leeway when it comes to bike laws?
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Today, we attended a Talent International event headlined by Sir Richard Branson that centered on how to create successful working environments and businesses through inspiring behavior, drive and self-belief (we'll be bringing you a full recap of Branson's insights soon). During his keynote address, Branson lightheartedly brought up his recent brush with the law:
I like to keep fit and healthy so I went for a bike ride [in Adelaide]. I didn't realise that you're meant to put helmets on in Australia. From now on I'll behave myself...I actually walked to the venue today.
The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon shortly after Branson left the Hilton Hotel on Victoria Square. After agreeing to wear a helmet, police let him off with a caution.
Interestingly, this is the second time in recent months that a bike-riding British celebrity has escaped a fine for not wearing a helmet: last year, Twilight actor Robert Pattinson was also stopped by police for riding without a helmet. He too was let off with just a warning.
We're keen to find out whether police are more lenient towards tourists in general, or whether it's just the rich and famous that get the benefit of the doubt. Have you or anyone you know ever managed to talk your way out of a helmet fine by claiming ignorance of the local rules? Let is know in the comments section below.
We suspect this could be a cunning life hack for non-helmet wearing cyclists: when the police pull you over, just adopt a thick Irish brogue. (Technically, you're not lying to police by putting on an accent.)
See also: How Much Safer Are Bicycle Helmets Really? | Should Queensland’s New Bike Helmet Laws Apply To All Australians? | Helmet-Free Cyclists More Likely To Ride Drunk | Bikes On Footpaths: When Is It Lawful?