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New NSW cycle helmet penalties could pump up fines to $1.5 million

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by gunissan, Jan 17, 2016.

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  1. New cycle helmet penalties could pump up fines to $1.5 million, minister's figures show

    New fines for cyclists who don't wear a helmet will boost the average annual revenue stream of about $335,000 for the offence to more than $1.5 million, if the same number of riders are fined.

    The hike in revenue figures, obtained from the office of NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay, are the result of the impending increase in the helmet penalty from $71 to $319 – an increase of 349 per cent.

    From March 1, cyclists will also have to carry proof of identity, while motorists will be required to give cyclists a metre gap when overtaking in speed zones of 60km/h or less, and 1.5 metres in higher speed zones.

    The penalty for a cyclist disobeying a red light, which increases from $71 to $425 (up 498 per cent) could result in a revenue jump from just under $24,000 (also averaged over the past four years) to more than $142,000, according to the minister's figures, if the same number of fines are issued.

    The number of penalty notices issued has shown no trend of increasing since 2011 – in fact, in the case of helmet and red light offences, the number of fines issued in 2014/15 was down on the previous year.

    Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, in her first comment on the new regime, agreed that governments needed to encourage safe behaviour by motorists and cyclists as cycling participation increases, but she believed the measures could be a discouragement.

    "It's good to see a trial of the 'a metre matters' approach in Sydney, which will make it safer for people to ride and help change attitudes in Sydney so that all people – whether walking, riding or in a car – can share the roads and pavements safely," she said.

    "But hiking up fines for bike riders and forcing them to carry ID is all stick, no carrot, and risks discouraging riding. Better infrastructure and education is the solution.

    "The government needs to invest in the safe, separated bike infrastructure that will keep bike riders safe and leave more space on the roads for people who need to drive."

    The lord mayor said more than 7000 people ride to work in the city centre each day – the equivalent of 116 full buses, or seven Sydney trains.

    Mr Gay said the new measures weren't about grabbing cyclists' money and it was only fair that cycling fines are brought into line with those for motorists. Being a responsible road user, whether a cyclist or a motorist, was not negotiable, he said.

    "Last month, I announced a new cycling package that was developed in close consultation with stakeholders, including cycling groups, to improve safety for all road users in NSW.

    "We don't want cyclists' money – that is not why we increased fines for high-risk and downright stupid behaviour. These changes are about changing behaviour and improving safety.



    "With cycling injuries remaining high in NSW, I had no choice but to look at tougher deterrents and increased enforcement to improve safety for cyclists and other road users. I hope I don't see another dollar in fine revenue but I do hope to see a reduction in cyclist injuries."

    Mr Gay said he had asked the Centre for Road Safety to look into directing all revenue from cycling fines into the Community Road Safety Fund used for safety initiatives, such as flashing lights at schools, and high visibility policing, including motorbike police in the CBD.

    Bicycle Network spokesman Garry Brennan said that NSW bike riders felt betrayed by Mr Gay's move to increase fines.

    "It is the policy of all Australian governments, state and federal, to encourage more people to get on bikes for the health, economic and congestion-busting benefits that riding instead of driving can bring," he said.

    "But this mean-spirited move is more like punishment than encouragement.

    "The level of the new fines appear to have been pulled from a hat. The fines for not wearing a helmet will generate such a massive amount of revenue that enforcement will be distorted towards helmet offences and away from other road rules that are just as important for safety.

    "There has been no proper analysis of trends in bike-related offences, no research into what level of fines are needed for deterrence, and no investigation of why other jurisdictions in Australia are able to manage the bike riding community without resorting to heavy-handed measures.

    "Compliance with laws is important for rider safety, but you achieve this by engaging with riders, working with them and supporting them, not by hammering them with the threat of huge fines and with oppressive regulations about carrying identity cards."

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  2. Hmm, up at Pie in the Sky, today, there were a few lady pushbike riders who, in their lovingly sprayed on Lycra, were obviously not carrying any ID, or very much else, but the cop car was still concentrating on the motorbike riders.
     
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  3. I'd be very concerned that Brennan has now become the 'go-to' spokesman for matters bicycle in NSW. He has been a thorn in the side of motorcycling here in Victoria, and is quite dogmatic in deriding anything he sees as detrimental to cycling.
     
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  4. I live across the road from a beach, the park adjacent has a separated, low speed, off road Cycleway. It helpfully goes to the shops, and other parts of the beach. I don't have to go anywhere near a car or a road - but in spring there is a prick of a Maggie that swoops me... So I ride the bmx I got for $4 off gumtree to the shops (hangs beside car and back of garage so super easy to get to) to save getting the car or moto out, don't go near a car, but have to wear a lid riding bike that can only go as fast as I jog (maybe a bit quicker when Maggie is hitting on me...) and boo ya... $319??? You get less for drink driving, or texting... If you ever get caught.

    I do commute by pushie too (also 80% off road paths - but a bit of on road too) and would never dream of riding without a helmet there.

    No such thing as common sense anymore. The law has to pander to the lowest possible common denominator!
     
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  5. It's a bit bloody silly to base revenue projections on an expectation of no improvement in compliance when the whole point of the introduction of draconian penalties is, ostensibly, to improve compliance.
     
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  7. I wonder how many fines are from tourists? I'm never a fan of fining tourists such large sums of money for such laws, not good business...
     
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  8. maybe they can do package deals... pay $XX for VIP immigration clearance at the airport, get discount/waived bike helmet fines? :p
     
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  9. #9 AyeKay, May 24, 2016
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
    As a NSW commuter cyclist of the non-Lycra variety (not that it matters, but I love cake too much ;), I can hazard a guess how VIC motorcyclists feel. Man, they HATE us cyclists here. There are blitzes on the few disjointed cycleways we have. There have been a few times where I have been surrounded by moto cops, and they have been stationed every few hundred metres. One moto cop knocked a cyclists in motion off his bike when he didn't hear the direction to pull over. I have had my bell checked 4 times. Seriously. But I also have a 120dB air horn I also offered to demonstrate for them.

    For me taking the moto to work is a major PITA, even though I have free underground parking for either bike at work. Basically it's just filtering the entire way - so not very enjoyable. I just use the right tool for the job, the pushie during the week is much easier as there are some Dedicated cycleways on my route (even if there are gaps), and it takes 5-10 mins longer - but saves an hour per day at the gym. On the weekend the moto comes out to play - and I can enjoy it properly.

    Yet I and others are repeatedly treated with disdain purely for this. I follow the rules, just as many others do, but many others don't either - just like all other forms of transport users.

    But bicycle hating is a state sport in NSW with big points being scored by tabloid media and other bodies, going against objective and real evidence.

    I don't give a crap. I Just ride, stay out of others' way where possible and ignore the haters.

    Can't believe people spend so much emotional energy on something that really doesn't cause the objective harm to society that all the crackdowns would suggest.

    On the other hand the last time I was pulled over or breath tested in a car was in 2011 - in SA. And I have never been pulled over for anything at all on the moto - but I guess that will change when I first ride down to the GP through VIC.

    I am furious about all this. If I don't change my mindset by the time I ride to work tomorrow maybe I can get charged with "riding furiously". ;)
     
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  10. Checking the bell? WTF, is it even a requirement to have a bell?

    Knocking cyclists over? Is this in the name of "safety"?
     
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  11. There is a requirement to have a "warning device". They interpret that as meaning have a bell, but my AirZound (for cars) and my voice (for peds) are much more effective. Yelling WATCH OUT has much more of an affect than a feint "ding ding" - which can't be heard over an iPod anyway.

    And yeah, the dude was pushed off his bike by a moto cop near Hyde Park a few months ago.
     
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  12. Yeah, I don't have a bell on one of my bikes, although technically I need a "bell, horn or something similar" but find it redundant as I have a voice. I wonder if I get pulled over, pressing the head bolt on the handlebars and and yelling "ding! ding!, ding! ding!" would be considered "similar" lol.

    I will simply slow down and let them know politely I'm behind them. At night the bike lights do the warning.
     
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  13. Getting yelled at is unpleasant as a pedestrian. Use a bell
     
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  14. I agree, that's why I said "I will simply slow down and let them know politely I'm behind them. At night the bike lights do the warning.".

    TBH I hate people who just go around ringing the bell at everything. It's obnoxious and is a "get out of the way" demand.
     
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  15. I honestly don't see much point in a bell in nsw. You're not allowed to ride on the footpath.

    Anyway I agree with BjpittBjpitt on this one. It's easy enough to slow to walking speed behind pedestrians and either wait for an opportunity to pass or politely say excuse me. That's what I used to do back in the day anyway.
     
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  16. They should just make a law of cards in the wheels. Thats much more pleasant than a bell. Or yelling.
     
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  17. Or make Campagnolo hubs mandatory and force cyclists to coast near peds - same thing!
     
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  18. Yeah I sometimes peddle backwards to make the sprag clutch noise louder for the peds.
     
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