Take the problem with cyclists. You could be forgiven for thinking there’s a war out there with between motorists and cyclists so strident have the claims and actions of cyclists become. This drives motorists mad. Not because they dislike cyclists but because they dislike law breaking.
Cycles are no longer the sedate form of transport of my youth when we all rode bikes. They are now high tech, manoeuvrable, lethal speed machines capable at travelling well over the urban speed limit of 50kph.
Just as laws had to be introduced to improve road safety as cars became faster and more numerous on the roads, it’s time for tougher laws to be introduced for cyclists and for similar reasons.
Safety measures for cyclists need to be considered by authorities long before expensive, and unnecessary, separation of cyclists from motorists through cycle lanes. After all, cyclists rarely use cycle lanes even when they are provided. Cyclist will claim they already have safety laws. Certainly there are some but not nearly enough to cope with the increasing speed of cycles. The law takes a while to catch up with technological change.
And here we come to the crux of the war between motorists and cyclists. There may be laws that govern the behaviour of cyclists but there is no way of enforcing them because cyclists and cycles aren’t registered.
This allows cyclists to behave like anarchists on the roads. They flout the law with impunity. It is this that rankles most with motorists. After all the same rules of the road apply to both motorists and cyclists but it’s only the motorist who can be held to account for transgressions. This is simply unjust and drives motorists mad.
It’s a problem. Then along comes technology with an answer that kills two birds with one stone - a cycle helmet that enhances safety and accommodates registration. This idea is being mooted in Australia and while not yet adopted it's obviously the way of the future.
It is the work of designer Toby King who presented his concept to Mosman Council on Tuesday night hoping to win support for a submission to the State Government which is considering licencing options for cyclists.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay has asked his department for a list of recommendations.
Unlike other proposals, attaching a licence plate to compulsory headwear for NSW cyclists would overcome the requirement to licence every bicycle in the state.
Mr King told the meeting the helmet would benefit cyclists and road users.
“This is a concept for better road safety. It is not a product or a business, it is a concept design,” he said.
“There are not many features on the current helmets that makes them safe.”
The concept has the backing of Mosman councillor Simon Menzies who said it would also provide a solution for commuter cyclists to be registered and able to showcase their registration number.
“People who use it as a mode of transport should be registered and insured,” Cr Menzies said.
“Every other road user pays for registration and it should not be any different.”
Once registration is possible most of the animosity between motorists and cyclist will fall away. Cyclists can be made to pay for their special demands for cycleways and cycle lanes; enhanced safety features that protect both cyclist and the public can be enforced; cyclists can at last be held accountable for their actions. It’s a win/win.