NSW cyclists must carry ID and will face same fines as drivers under new laws
New laws, to take effect in March, will also require drivers to give cyclists at least a one-metre berth when passing.
Cyclists in New South Wales will need to carry photo ID and fines for certain offences will more than quadruple to $425 under new laws announced by the state’s roads minister, Duncan Gay.
Fines for cycling offences, currently standardised at $71, will be increased for not wearing a helmet (to $319), running a red light ($425), riding dangerously ($425), holding on to a moving vehicle ($319) and not stopping at a children’s or pedestrian crossing ($425). The fine for not having ID is $106.
Vehicles travelling less than 60km/h will need to give cyclists one metres’ room or pay a $319 fine and lose two demerit points. Those passing at more than 60km/h will need to give one and a half metres.
The changes on traffic light and pedestrian crossing offences bring fines for cyclists into line with those for car drivers.
The new laws come into force in March and will be accompanied by a public awareness campaign.
Gay said on Monday the changes were about “striking a balance for everyone on the roads and footpaths” and were in line with recommendations from roundtables he held this year with cycling advocacy groups the Pedestrian Council of Australia, the NRMA and the Motor Accident Authority.
Adult riders will need to carry photo ID so they can be identified if stopped by police. They will also be asked to give pedestrians one metre of room “where practical” when passing on a shared path.
An idea Gay floated last year to introduce a cycling licence – deemed by the department “not [to] be a cost-effective way of improving NSW cyclists’ behaviour or safety” – appears to have been dropped.
He acknowledged the new rules would not prevent all conflict between drivers and riders, saying everyone needed to take responsibility for their behaviour.
“All road users need to exercise respect when using the road,” he said.
The Centre for Road Safety executive director, Bernard Carlon, said he often saw people riding bikes without a helmet.
“If you’re involved in a crash, you are 60% more likely to suffer a severe brain injury if you’re not wearing a helmet,” he said.
About 11 cyclists were killed every year on NSW roads and more than 1,500 were admitted to hospital for cycling crashes, he said.
Similarly, ill-advised cycle lanes should be decommissioned where they are dangerous to all road users. The Island Bay Cycleway is a case in point. It is good to see Residents’ Associations taking up the fight to help save cyclists from themselves.