Home
Country increasingly divided between bike-friendly and bike-hostile

Cycling on footpaths has been made legal in Western Australia this month, further dividing the country into areas where cycling is welcomed and places where riders feel victimised.

Local government in Western Australia also pledged to increase the number of cycle paths following the deaths of two cyclists las month in collisions with cars in Perth.

Footpaths have now been opened up to riders of all ages, with children under 12 previously the only ones allowed on them.

All Australian states now allow footpath riding except Victoria and New South Wales.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the Cycling and Pedestrian Advisory Group had presented findings that showed very low risks to other footpath users and great safety benefits for cyclists.

But the Green transport spokeswoman Lynn MacLaren said cyclists needed to take extreme care around vulnerable pedestrians, according to Green Left.

She added: “Bike riders should be able to occasionally use the footpath because our roads are still largely configured with just cars in mind – however it is not an ideal situation and what we urgently need are more cycle lanes and paths.”

Back in February we reported a very different trajectory in Sydney, where hundreds of cyclists were penalised for crimes including not having a bell, as New South Wales Police prepared to enforce some of the world’s harshest penalties for cycle infringements.

More than 450 cyclists received penalties in a one-day action by police. 210 were cyclists fined for not wearing helmets, 80 for riding on the footpath, and 103 for disobeying traffic control lights, including by not dismounting at pedestrian crossings.

A further 64 cautions were issued for minor infringements like not carrying a bell.

More than 200 motorists were also targeted and the new laws will also require drivers to give cyclists at least one metre of space when overtaking.

Cycling fines have more than quadrupled to $319 (£163) for not wearing a helmet and $425 (£218) for not stopping at a pedestrian crossing.

Cyclists without ID can be fined around £50.

The fine for motorists who close pass is £163, plus two licence points. If passing at more than 60 kmph, the space required increases to 1.5 metres.

Craig Richards of Bicycle Network, asked in a statement: “Is this just the latest attack on cyclists from a government who appear to be running an anti-bike agenda?”

And last month we reported how two cyclists in Sydney, New South Wales – the Australian state that brought in big increases in penalties for law-breaking riders on 1 March – were reportedly been fined A$425 (£225) apiece after police spotted them trackstanding at traffic lights.

Trackstanding in itself is not an offence, with the Twitter feed of campaign group Australian Cyclists instead suggesting that the pair were booked for “dangerous cycling” – although quite who they might have been endangering is unclear.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.