Increased Fines for Bicycle Offences

Bicycle Fines – More Education, less Big Stick.

Bicycle NSW presents their position on the new fines for bicycle offences;

Dear Members and Friends,

Recently we discussed the mandatory Photo ID issue, and this elicited a great range of responses. Thank you for this.

This week we wanted to present the Bicycle NSW position on the large increases in fines for bicycle offences:

  • Not wearing a helmet: from $71 to $319. Equivalent to the motor cycle fine, even though a motor cycle has much higher power and can reach much higher speeds.
  • Running a red light: from $71 to $425. Equivalent to cars, even though at many intersections bicycles are unable to trigger the traffic signal. This is a 500% increase.
  • Riding dangerously: from $71 to $425. This is a 500% increase.
  • Not stopping at children’s/pedestrian crossing: from $71 to $425. Equivalent to cars.
  • All other general bicycle fines: from $71 to $106.

Our position remains that we oppose the automatic equivalence of bicycle and motor vehicle fines. The fines should be based on the potential negative consequence of the offence. For example at present, some speeding fines for heavy vehicles are much greater than for cars because the potential consequences are considered.

At Bicycle NSW we believe any policy or regulatory changes should make riders safer and encourage riding, so as to benefit health, transport, community and the environment. We do not believe that these fine increases will help achieve these aims. As NSW roads face more and more congestion, the Government should be looking at ways to encourage bike riding as a form of transport, rather than discouraging riding.

We encourage all road users to follow the rules and share the road. We know that a good education campaign is the key to behavioural change. During the Government’s committee process there was no hard evidence that higher fines would produce greater compliance than an effective education campaign. The recent Queensland “Stay Wider of the Rider”,  and the NSW motor cycle safety “Ride to Live” campaigns are good examples.

The proposed new fine levels seem ad hoc, draconian, and particularly to target bicycle riders. In fact, the new bicycle fines lead to some interesting anomalies, eg:

  • Ride bicycle without working warning device (eg bell, horn): $106
  • Pedestrian crossing a level crossing when an approaching tram/train can be seen/heard: $71

Which of these is far more dangerous? And look at:

  • Car driving in a bicycle lane: $177
  • Car driving in a bus lane: $319

Who is the vulnerable road user here?

At Bicycle NSW we will continue to work with the Government to achieve a better solution. To aid this, and support our voice, we suggest that concerned riders should write to their Local MP, and to the Premier seeking a reconsideration of these measures.

Ray Rice

CEOBicycle NSW – Creating a Better Environment for Cycling