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Vic: Mobile Phone Fines, Bus Lane Use Among Proposed Cycling Rule Changes Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Jun, 26 2015 | 1 Comment

Cyclists in Victoria could face a raft of new rules and regulations following the preliminary findings in a report handed down this week.

An independent report commissioned by VicRoads called on members of the public to complete an online survey last year and examined crash data involving cyclists from the past decade.

The inquiry also called upon cycling interest groups and councils to submit feedback.

The report’s key recommendations have now been made public, and they include on-the-spot fines for cyclists caught using mobile phones while riding and a ban on two abreast riding on winding or narrow roads.

But besides those recommendations, the report is all about making cycling more accessible and convenient. Such suggestions include opening up bus lanes to cyclists and making it easier for groups to stage a cycling event.

Cars may also be allowed to travel with bike carriers permanently, with or without bikes attached, and riders would be allowed to use footpaths when cycling with a child under the age of 12.

Recommendations for drivers included a requirement to give way to cyclists crossing at lights with a green cycling symbol, but two other recommendations from respondents did not make the shortlist.

These included a call for a ‘zero liability’ rule for cyclists, whereby drivers would automatically be deemed at fault in any collision involving a cyclist, and a rule allowing cyclists to use pedestrian crossings without dismounting.

Rules proposed earlier this year requiring drivers to leave a one-metre gap when overtaking cyclists was also mentioned.

A likely starter from the list is an education campaign to inform drivers and riders of new and existing rules, once they are settled upon.

The campaign would also target etiquette, asking drivers to be mindful when opening doors and avoid using horns unless necessary.

Riders surveyed said they felt riding in Victoria was dangerous, and that drivers had a negative attitude toward cycling.

Cyclists also called for more riding infrastructure, but were strongly opposed to any licencing or registration system, along with a law requiring single-file riding at all times.

Over the ten-year period considered, more than 29,000 collisions were recorded where a cyclist was involved with Tuesday deemed the most dangerous day.

More than 80 riders lost their lives, and a further 4447 were seriously injured.

“The Cycling Related Road Rules review focuses on ways to make it easier for people to take up cycling, for current cyclists to use roads and to protect the safety of everyone on our roads,” VicRoads’ Robyn Seymour said.

“A number of recommendations need more discussion, particularly with pedestrians and people with a mobility issue. The review also highlights rules that aren't useful or are confusing and need to be changed.”

VicRoads said the public will have another chance to have their say from October this year.

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