There’s no doubt that cycling is a popular mode of transport in the City of Sydney. In fact, twice as many people ride bikes in the Sydney area than the national average. During any week some 31,600 City of Sydney residents get on a bike.[i]
At the same time across the CBD and surrounding suburbs there can be conflict between car drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
Cyclists and pedestrian safety is a key issue. During September this year I put forward a notice of motion that was unanimously supported by Council proposing that city staff write to NSW Roads and Maritime Services to obtain guidance about developing the City of Sydney’s free workshops for learner drivers under 25 years of age to include specific instruction about driving in the City of Sydney LGA and the interaction with bicycle traffic. You can see further details about that initiative here.
Yesterday, the NSW Government announced their new cycling package which will kick off during March 2016. The key components of the package involve:
- Introducing a new rule requiring drivers to leave a minimum distance when passing bicycle riders – at least one metre when travelling up to 60km/h and at least 1.5 metres when travelling faster than 60km/h, which will attract a penalty of $319 and two demerit points.
- Increasing penalties to help improve safety on our roads for bicycle riders who are:
– Not a wearing helmet (from $71 to $319)
– Running a red light (from $71 to $425)
– Riding dangerously (from $71 to $425)
– Holding onto a moving vehicle (from $71 to $319)
– Not stopping at children’s/pedestrian crossing ($71 to $425).
- Making it compulsory for adult riders to carry photo ID so that they can be identified in an emergency or if they break the road rules.
- Introducing a new safety advisory recommendation for bicycle riders to provide a minimum distance of one metre when passing pedestrians on a shared path, where practical.
The NSW Government will promote these initiatives through the Go Together Campaign.
I fully support the state Government’s initiative and I will continue to work with the Council and the community to ensure that cyclists, pedestrians and motorists interact in a safe way.
[i] 2013 Australian Bicycle Council survey