Female cyclists need to wear the same bicycle helmet that their male counterparts to reduce the risk of injuries, a federal report says.
Bike helmet laws vary across the country and in different states.
In Queensland, for example, women must wear a helmet with an attached seat.
In New South Wales, helmets are mandatory, with no exceptions.
However, some women may prefer not to wear them.
The National Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation (NBHFR) said the helmet was “not required to be worn by men”.
It said it was recommended that men wear a “small, lightweight, soft helmet with a padded face shield” that would protect the face.
It recommended a helmet for “people who do not ride a bicycle”.
“The safety benefits of wearing a helmet are substantial,” the report said.
“If a person rides a bicycle, there is an increased risk of injury from head injuries.”
This is because the protective face shield can easily become damaged and cannot protect the wearer against the impact of a falling object.
“The risk of a head injury increases when the head is exposed to cold weather.”
The report also noted that men are more likely to fall, hit their head and break their nose from hitting their head.
“When men are hit by a car, there are more severe head injuries,” it said.
“When a person is struck by a bus, there has been no significant impact of the head and there are fewer head injuries.”
“The impact of falling from a bicycle is also more likely for men and the head must be protected from further impact with the vehicle,” the NBHFR said.
“It is important that women use a helmet.”