Take Action NSW!

cycle penalty postersWe will use this page to continue to highlight news and actions you can take to voice displeasure with the changes being implemented in NSW from March 1st, 2016.

Our Position

We join with the leading cycling advocacy organisations in believing that the 500% increase to fines and the mandatory requirement for approved ID to be carried as unnecessary, unfair and counter productive to promoting cycling to being an attractive option for more people.

The action highlights once more this NSW Government’s focus on regulation and punishment rather than applying itself to improve conditions for those who would cycle and to promote cycling as a safe, economical and healthy form of transport. A fact highlighted by the Baird Government’s recent dropping of cycling growth targets.

The ACP will work with members of Parliament and with advocacy groups to resist the changes and, if enacted, to aim for their repeal. But that is only a part of it, it’s time this government changed its priorities and got people moving again!

Upcoming and Ongoing Community Protests:

The Proposed Changes:

NSW Government Statement

What we have said:

Dec 2015:  Triple J Hack interview on new NSW Penalties and ID’s

Dec 2015: The Guardian – Are Advocates Split on new NSW Laws?

What others are saying:

Bicycle NSW’s response (Jan 8)

Bicycle Network’s response

Sydney Morning Herald Blogger Michael O’Reilly questions the motives

Blogger Bike Snob New York City takes aim

Links to MP’s Ministers, Premier:

Q & A

Will these measures encourage cycling?more cyclists fewer deaths

Absolutely not.  This strange claim by some in government appears baseless and absent of any reasonable assessment or evidence.  The only measures that have been found to increase cycling safety are those that encourage more participation through separation and lower speed limits.  Better functioning signals and motorist behaviour changes help.  Cyclist numbers count, not increased fines.

Aren’t cyclists vehicles and therefore should cop the same fines?

Bicycles are considered vehicles, but different laws are enacted for different classes of vehicles and different rules can also apply to different classes.  To bundle a 10kg bicycle with a 2,000+ kg motor vehicle and apply the same penalties appears absurd.  We do not behave the same or hold the potential to inflict the same consequences as motor vehicles do and we are seldom the ones at fault in a crash:  Cyclists injure only a few dozens others every year while according to government statistics, motorists will cause the death of 1,155, injure over 54,000 and cost the community $27 billion as a result of crashes.

Is the ID requirement useful?

Carrying a driver’s license or special $51 RMS issued ID should not be a requirement to simply ride a bicycle.  Police and hospital workers do not require an ID in order to fine an individual or to treat them.  Pedestrians who are much more likely to be involved in a crash, do not have to carry such ID – if cyclists have to it is either a punitive measure or the requirement should logically extend to anyone who might be stopped or injured.  If that is the intent, then let’s have the ID carrying debate together.

There are other complications:  How does a young person prove they are not over 18?  How do tourists or interstate cyclists provide a valid NSW ID?  What problem does an ID solve for a cyclist that would not be the same as for anyone else?

I carry a license for driving, shouldn’t I carry it on a bicycle?

A driver’s license proves that you are qualified to operate a motor vehicle.  Being licensed is not required for riding a bicycle – though some suspect this move is a first step to that outcome.  As an ID is not necessary for the government agencies to do their jobs, then why should it be imposed just on cyclists?  The requirement appears narrowly aimed with no logical foundation.

Will the new measures impact cycling participation?

We and the major advocacy groups are convinced it will cool enthusiasm among those who may be considering cycling.  It may also put off those who would fear a $300 fine possibility for a genuine mistake would be too much for them to risk.  Young people and women in particular may be dissuaded – key demographics for cycling growth.  No other nation that encourages cycling targets riders with such hefty fines.

Are cyclists big law breakers compared to motorists?

The evidence is overwhelming that motor vehicles break the law regularly (40% of motor vehicles are found to exceed the speed limit) and are implicated in most injury crashes – including 80% of those with cyclists.  Here is a summary based on NSW Government figures:

Motor Vehicles
Motor Vehicle occupant deaths (944) and serious injury: 4,311*
Motor vehicle red light offences: 169,000 ($425 fine)
MV Speeding offences: 485,000 (from $335)
MV School zone offences: 87,000 ($425 fine)
MV Seat belt offences: 21,500 ($319 per person)
* excludes causing the death or serious injury of others

Bicycles
Cyclist deaths (11) and serious injury: 390
Cyclist red light offences: 377 ($71 fine increases to $425)
Cyclist ped xing offences: 3 ($71 to $425 fine)
Cyclist helmet offences: 4,750 ($71 to $319 fine)
Cyclist holding on to moving vehicle offences: 4 ($71 to $425)

Pedestrians
Pedestrian deaths (44) and serious injury: 789
Jaywalking cautions: 8,000 (est, Sydney only)
Jaywalking offences: 4,000 (est, Sydney only, $71 fine)

Deaths and injuries based on 2013 statistics, Centre for Road Safety; Offences from 2014/15 from State Revenue reports; pedestrian offences from SMH

Will the Government educate drivers about the safe passing distances?

We hope so but the only advertisements so far relate to the fines.  So, we have taken the initiative to show what might be possible:

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January protest at Sydney CBD

Protest_Peddle NSW_cropped2_23Jan16What happened? On Sunday the 24th January over 100 cyclists, including ACP Executive Committee members, congregated in Hyde Park to ride in protest of the proposed new legislation affecting NSW cyclists.

Participants of the protest decided to take action. Over 100 “ID Cards” will be sent to various ministers in NSW parliament with communication that argues that these laws are unjustified, unfair and unacceptable to the majority of NSW cyclists.

What’s next? There are more protest rides organised for January and February by various cycling organisations so check our Facebook page for some of these events.

Why bother? We, the ACP, encourage you to attend our cycling alliances’ protests and activities. As a cycling community if we form a groundswell of people, from all walks of life, that believe these laws are a step backward for our health, the environment and liveable cities and communicate this to the politicians that this proposed legislation is not acceptable, then we can effect change. Get involved and take action.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55CCUXTnFKQ

Petition Delivery February 16th

Over 10,000 signatures and 26 supporting organisations!

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