Roundabout arguments can’t disguise Sydney’s cycling laws are
taking the public for a ride
Massive increases in fines for riding without a helmet or running a red light are just the latest in
the city’s ignoble history of deciding cyclists are a problem
Wednesday 27 July 2016 21.29 BST
Cyclists in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Some fines for cyclists have risen from $71 to $425 and riders are also obliged to carry ID.
It’s almost five months since fines for various cycling infractions, including riding without a helmet, cycling dangerously or jumping a red light were massively increased in New South Wales. Some fines went up from $71 to $425 (£40 to £240). At the same time, a new law spelled out minimum passing distances drivers should give riders when they overtake bikes. And there was talk of introducing a law that would require cyclists to be obliged to carry ID.
Are cyclists feeling much safer? It’s fair to say the impact has been mixed.
In May it turned out that while police had by then energetically handed out 1,500 of the new fines to cyclists, mainly over helmet use, just four motorists had felt the force of the law for close overtakes. There were also reports of overzealous enforcement of the rules, including a dangerous cycling citation for someone trackstanding at a red light.
Alarming as this all is, what interests me more is the why: what justifications does NSW’s Liberal government give for the changes?
What do they hope to achieve?