A recent report on an outbreak of bikes without lights in Byron Shire is, as mentioned, plain stupid, but there are a number of aspects to this issue that require consideration.
Lights and reflectors, horns or bells and, at least, one working brake, are all legal requirements for bicycles in NSW. See RTA rules and regs.
I have never seen any attempt at enforcing any of these.
I have been cycling since God was a lad and in all parts of the world. Nowhere have I felt so vulnerable on roads or cycle tracks as I have in Byron recently.
An increasing number of visitors are using bikes at night. Presumably hired, borrowed or stolen.
At best, most have only one of the requisite safety items and, somewhat surprisingly, occasionally none.
Also it is apparent that many have not ridden before. Hence, the cycle paths of Byron are now considerably more dangerous than the roads.
Especially when one considers that they are poorly lit (or not at all), often covered in broken glass and, as is the case of the Shirley Lane cycle path, an obstacle course of waist-high metal barriers.
These were no doubt erected to inhibit motor traffic but at night they can be almost lethal for cyclists.
I know of two such accidents. A letter, 12 months ago, to the Byron Council works department concerning this particular problem elicited nothing.
So I am forced to use the roads at night and run the gauntlet of hoons throwing missiles from cars, drivers opening car doors, drunks and so on.
I urge the council to make all the cycle tracks biker friendly (Pythonesque really, innit?), bike hirers to ensure the bikes comply with the law and some form of education for hirees.
Simple as riding a bike.
Tony Parker, Byron Bay