Steane Klose | Feb 8, 2008

Cyclists should pay their way, at least according to Federal Opposition spokesman on sports, Pat Farmer. Mr Farmer’s plan for NSW cyclists would see them paying a registration fee that would help them to legitimise their place on NSW roads.

Mr Farmer has said that motorists regularly complain about cyclists using the road system for free. Motorists in all Australian states are saddled with an annual registration fee, third party insurance and fuel excise, while riding a bike is free. Mr Farmer says that the introduction of a registration fee for cyclists would put this issue to rest and provide further funding for bike lanes.

"We need to work with cyclists and cycling associations to come up with a levy … so that we've got some money to support them with much-needed infrastructure and to justify them being on the road," said Mr Farmer

Mr Farmer’s proposal for the levy would see it being applied to people over the minimum age for driving and administered at bike shops. Mr Farmer has not put a dollar amount on the fee at this stage.

The Minister for Roads, Eric Roozendaal, was not as keen as Mr Farmer on the proposal and suggested that Mr Farmer buys himself a long-distance Malvern Star racer to make the trip from his new Mosman home to his electorate in Camlbelltown – a dig at Mr Farmer’s recent move away from his electorate.

Surprisingly the proposal has received some support from Bicycle NSW, who also take the view that it may assist to legitimise cycling. However, the Cycling Promotion Fund, a bicycle industry lobby group, is taking a different view and believes that a new registration fee would only discourage the use of bicycles – pointing out that there is currently no government in the world that requires bicycle registration.

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