March 1 marks the commencement of what can only be described as a confusing list of new laws and increased fines for cyclists across New South Wales.
Late last year NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced the crack down on cyclists breaking the road rules and the new laws are considered an important safety measure but fines for cyclists caught breaking those road rules have risen from the flat rate fine of $71 to upward of $400 for some offences.
To be prepared and aware of the changes the State Government has created a website for the ‘Go Together’ campaign to help explain the changes that police will be diligently ensuring compliance.
Here is a list of key things to be aware of as a cyclist and some of the updated rules and penalties.
- Responsible Riding: (Rule 245) – Must not ride negligently, furiously or recklessly. This incurs an increased penalty from $71 to $425.
- Traffic Lights and Pedestrian Crossings: (Same rules apply to motor vehicles) – Failure to stop at a red light and children/pedestrian crossing when pedestrians are crossing. This incurs an increased penalty for cyclists from $71 to $425.
- Crossing Roads on a Pedestrian Crossing: (Rule 248) – The rider of a bicycle must not ride across a road, or part of a road on a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing. Cyclists must dismount to use pedestrian crossings.
- Helmets: (Rule 256) – A rider must wear an Australian Standard approved bicycle helmet, securely fitted and fastened on the riders head. Failure to comply incurs an increased penalty from $71 to $319.
- Equipment on a Bicycle: (Rule 258) – A person must not ride a bicycle that does not have a bell, horn or similar warning device fitted and in working order. (Warnings were issued in the inner-Sydney one-day cyclist-focused operation by the NSW Police in February, but this could incur a $106 fine.)
- Lights and Reflectors: (Rule 259) – A rider must not ride at night or in hazardous conditions without a solid or flashing white front light and red rear light both visible from 200 metres away and a red rear reflector on the rear visible when light is projected onto it from 50 metres away. Failure to comply will incur an increased penalty from $71 to $106
- Riding Two-Abreast: (Rule 151) – Riders are able to ride alongside only 1 other rider unless on a multi-lane road.
- Riding in a Bicycle Lane on a Road: (Rule 247) – If there is a bicycle lane designed for cyclists in the same direction as a cyclist is travelling they must travel in the bicycle lane.
- Riding Too Close to the Rear of a Motor Vehicle: (Rule 255) – A rider must not ride within 2 metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres.
- Giving Way to Pedestrians on Shared Paths: Where possible cyclists must give pedestrians a metre of space on shared paths.
In addition to the updated penalties, there will also be a penalty added to holding onto a moving vehicle from $71 to $319 and it will become compulsory for riders over the age of 18 to carry photo ID in-case they need to be identified by police after committing an offence or for emergency purposes, however fines of $106 will not be introduced until March 2017. Apparently if you can produce a picture of your ID to police that will suffice, though that won’t aid authorities in an emergency.
It isn’t all about targeting cyclists though, with police now enforcing compliance from motor vehicles to honour the safe passing distance of a metre and a half for cyclists with a $319 fine for drivers not adhering to the new rule.
You can refer to Part 15 of the NSW Governments Road Rules legislation for clarification here.