Aussies have renewed calls for cyclists to need a licence to ride after the controversial measure was proposed by a former MP years ago.
In 2014, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay pushed for a cycling licence to be introduced to combat road deaths after a rise in horror accidents.
The proposal did not garner support from advocates and never eventuated, with Mr Gay instead upping fines for cyclists caught breaching road rules.
Now, people say the policy should be brought in to regulate and educate ‘dangerous’ push bike riders who hit the streets in packs and ‘take up car lanes’.
The debate comes amid cries for 4WD drivers to be licensed as towing companies grapple with skyrocketing calls from off-road drivers who have become bogged.
Australians have renewed calls for cyclists to require a licence amid raging debate over whether the measure should be introduced for 4WDs. Pictured: Bike riders travellers over Sydney’s Harbour bridge
Taking to social media, frustrated motorists said the government should target bike enthusiasts before regulating 4WD fanatics, arguing bike riders pose a greater hazard to the public.
‘What about cyclists?’ They’re more f***ing dangerous,’ one woman said.
‘True story mate, they are unreal taking up a car lane with more than 20 riders, it makes me sick,’ a man added.
‘[They’ve] got all the bikeways in the world and they want ride on the road.’
Another man said if 4WD licences are introduced then ‘cyclists need a f**ing licence and have to pay rego’.
‘Totally agree, cyclists need to be licensed,’ someone else wrote.
Eight years ago, Mr Gay announced he was looking at bringing in a licence for cyclists after a several fatalities occurred within weeks.
‘The thing I really need to look at is, if we’re going to put rules in place, and I need to be tougher on car drivers, but I am increasingly persuaded that we need to look at a licence for cyclists,’ Mr Gay told 2UE Breakfast at the time.
Former NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay called for cycling licensed to be introduced in 2014
‘It’s not going to worry the ones that are doing the right thing, but the bad ones that are running lights, crossing over, being aggressive, they’re a large part of the statistic.’
Mr Gay, who also fought to have cycling ways scrapped from parts of Sydney’s CBD, was accused of waging a war against cyclists by advocacy groups.
After the bid was rejected, Mr Gay tried to usher in a law that would see cyclists fined more than $100 for not carrying identification from 1 March 2016.
However, after delaying the date, the government backpedalled and decided to ditch the law change altogether – although proposed penalty increases set for that date were maintained.
Fines for cyclists in NSW were magnified to match drivers, taking the penalty for not wearing a helmet to $330; running a red light to $439; riding negligently, furiously or recklessly to $439; and failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing to $439.
While the cycling licence debate has continued to periodically pop up, the state government has maintained the position that legal cycling should remain free of fiscal charges.
Cycling advocates say bike riding should be free to encourage the form of transport over cars
Peter McLean, CEO of Bicycle NSW, the state’s peak advocacy body for cyclists, told Daily Mail Australia its a complex debate as it poses questions as to whether the licence should apply to the rider or the bike, or both.
He said while his association consults with the government about such measures, they believe increasing safety for bike users and motorists was a matter of education.
‘We are also trying we have more people on roads and that it is accessible and affordable for everyone,’ he said.
‘So although we definitely collaborate [with the government], we want more education about safety for cyclists and users.’
Mr McLean said the majority of cyclists also have drivers licences and are aware of road and bike rules.
‘I’d argue do we need additional classes for bicycles and 4WD or do we need a massive dose of consideration for others?’ he said.
‘Bicycles need to be considerate of drivers, and drivers need to be considerate that cyclists take up less space on roads.
‘Education and awareness needs to be a fundamental process to change the culture in Australia and we need to be more considerate of everyone else using roads.’
ROAD RULES FOR CYCLISTS IN NSW
SPECIAL RULES FOR BICYCLE RIDERS:
- You may perform hook turns at intersections unless prohibited by a sign posting.
- You do not need to give a left or stop signal, or signal when making a hook turn.
- You may ride 2 abreast but not more than 1.5 metres apart.
- You may overtake two other bicycle riders who are riding side-by-side.
- You may travel in a Bus Lane, Tram Lane, Transit Lane or Truck Lane but not in a Bus Only Lane.
- You may ride to the left of a continuous white edge line.
- You may overtake on the left of stopped and slow moving vehicles.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF BICYCLE RIDERS:
Bicycle riders have a number of responsibilities when riding on and off the road.
Bicycle riders must:
- Sit astride the rider’s seat facing forward with at least one hand on the handlebars
- Wear an approved bicycle helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head
- Keep to the left of any oncoming bicycle rider or pedestrian on a footpath, shared path, or separated path
- Use the bicycle lane where available unless it is not practical to do so
- Wait in the storage box area at traffic lights when available
- Give way to any vehicle leaving a roundabout when the rider is in the left lane of a multi-lane roundabout and is turning right.
Bicycle riders must not:
- Ride a bicycle without at least one working brake and fully functioning bell, horn, or similar warning device
- Ride a bicycle at night or in hazardous weather conditions unless the bike displays:
- A flashing or steady white light visible for 200 metres from the front
- A flashing or steady red light visible for 200 metres from the rear, and
- A red reflector visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of the bicycle when light is projected onto it by another vehicle’s headlight on low beam
- Carry a passenger who is not wearing a securely fitted and fastened helmet
- Carry more people on a bike than it is designed for
- Ride on a crossing except where there is a green bicycle light
- Be towed by or hold onto another moving vehicle.