Recent law reforms that came into effect from the 1st of March this year, see cyclists over the age of 18 required to carry a valid photo ID. The aim of the new laws is said to allow easy identification of a civilian breaking the road rules or in the case of an emergency.
There is also an approximately 350% increase on the fine limit for cyclists not wearing a helmet under the new regime.
Changes you should be aware of
Riding without an ID will leave you with a hefty fine of $106 (the same applies to four wheel drivers). Not wearing a helmet or holding onto a moving car will cost you $319 and, as a cherry on top, riders will receive a $425 fine for running a red light. Also, cyclists are required to keep a metres distance from pedestrians on shared paths, where possible.
The laws are bringing bicyclists in-line with penalties for car drivers. State’s Road Minister, Duncan Gay, highlighted that there will be an increase in police presence to ensure the enforcement of the new laws. Even though 90% of the cyclists already carry an ID and about 70% wear helmets.
Response to the reform
The laws have been tightened in the name of safety, reminding us of the contentious lockout laws that were applied to Sydney for the same purpose. It has been suggested that the new laws will turn New South Wales into “the laughing stock of the world” and there is an increasing need of road designs specific for cyclists rather than stricter laws.
Response to the reforms has not be positive, with more than r 10,000 people signing a petition against the new cycling laws. Perhaps for good reason: The fine for not wearing a helmet is approximately double the price that car-drivers get fined for driving in a bike lane.
Whilst the laws are supposed to increase safety, it has been suggested they might actually discourage riders from biking.