10.4 C
Byron Shire
August 16, 2022

New cycling laws ‘controversial but safe’

Latest News

The solution is absolute transparency

Heilpern's great comparison (20 July) of wars in Ukraine and Iraq, illustrates the USA and all participants commit great...

Other News

Curved-space robot defies known laws of physics, heralding new locomotive technology possibilities

A robot engineered at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) has done the unthinkable and flouted a steadfast law of motion, suggesting that new laws need to be defined.

Veteran big band sounds coming to Ballina

The Royal Australian Navy Veterans Band is coming to Ballina RSL on Thursday, with a concert raising funds for the Northern Rivers Flood Relief Fund, by donation. They will be joined by the Royal Australian Navy Band, from Sydney, for what will be a big sound in a great cause.

Nimblefoot launches tonight in Byron 

Acclaimed Bangalow author Robert Drewe, who will be featuring at Byron Writers Festival, is having his latest book Nimblefoot launched by Kerry O’Brien at The Book Room at Byron at 6pm tonight. 

Mud benda rant

Regarding last week’s Splendour Festival and all the ‘haters’ out there. I took along a few seriously fun-deprived teenage...

No letup in the struggle for climate justice

The 43 per cent emissions target passed last week in the House of Representatives lacks the ambition needed to radically diminish Australia’s contribution to global warming. It’s too little, too late.

Concerns over future of Murwillumbah Hospital

Northern NSW Local Health District have sought to reassure locals that facilities won't be downgraded or closed at Murwillumbah Hospital when the controversial new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen near Kingscliff opens in 2023.

I’m concerned about the reaction to the new cycling regulations that came into force in NSW earlier this month.

The new laws include drastically increased fines for dangerous cycling and not wearing a helmet, as well as higher penalties for drivers who fail to leave an adequate buffer zone.

One notable headline declared that these new laws will make NSW the ‘laughing stock of the world’, because of the requirement for cyclists to carry ID.

But I’m not laughing, and neither are the thousands of people injured or killed on country roads every year.

Sharing the roads with cyclists is often painted as a city issue, but the popularity of cycling seems to be growing in rural and semi-rural areas. The difference is that most country roads weren’t designed with cycling in mind.

A quick look at the latest NSW crash data shows one cyclist is injured on country roads for every three in metropolitan areas. That ratio almost doubles for fatalities, with two regional cycling deaths for every three in the city.

I deal with road accident victims every day and the reality is that life changing crashes take place on otherwise completely ordinary days, in familiar locations, often with little warning.

These new laws may be controversial but ultimately they are about safety and the problem they are addressing is a real one.

Fiona Ley, Senior Associate, Slater and Gordon Lawyers

 

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Fiona, perhaps you might explain how carrying ID will somehow put cyclists out of the way of the trucks and cars that speed recklessly on our roads? Perhaps you would assure us that carrying ID is not about you and your fancy law firm being better able to shift accident responsibility on to cyclists and away from your bountifully financed motor insurance companies. Is this not a case of a government and industry (Law) which suffers from a severe case of control neurosis?

  2. Hi Fiona,
    I agree that cycling crashes and injuries are a real problem however the new NSW laws which are supposedly aimed at safety do very little to address safety. The majority of cycling crashes and fatalities occur due to collisions with motor vehicles which are at fault around 80% of the time – http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cycling-safety-the-statistics-20140818-105erb.html
    These new laws do nothing to address this issue. The exception of course is potentially the 1/1.5m passing law but if there is no enforcement of this law and more importantly no substantial education campaign around this law, it is basically meaningless.
    Cycling is only dangerous because motorists often have little respect for cyclists who are forced onto the roads in this country due to poorly designed, inadequate and mostly non existent cycling infrastructure. If you look at countries such as Sweden (lowest percentage of participation fatalities internationally), Denmark, Holland and even some states in the US that have good infrastructure, appropriate liability laws and a culture of road user respect you will find that the injury and fatality rates are much lower and most cyclists don’t even wear helmets in these places.
    Our NSW Roads Minister has stated he wants cyclists off the roads on a number of occasions – this is what these new laws are aimed at. Australia and NSW are the laughing stock of the world when it comes to encouraging a healthy mode of transport.

    How many people die of heart disease each year? Maybe we could save a few hundred deaths each year if more people cycled…

    Cheers

  3. Fiona, if you honestly believe that these new laws are anything other than an extension of the nanny state and a revenue raising exercise, then I can only assume that your legal speciality is ‘risk and compliance’. You need to take off your blinkers.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Veteran big band sounds coming to Ballina

The Royal Australian Navy Veterans Band is coming to Ballina RSL on Thursday, with a concert raising funds for the Northern Rivers Flood Relief Fund, by donation. They will be joined by the Royal Australian Navy Band, from Sydney, for what will be a big sound in a great cause.

Some truths

In answer to David Lisle’s letter – Backlash Echo Aug 3, 2022. Our rail corridor was only ‘disused’ because of purely political and so-called economics!...

Alarming footage of devastation in Ellis State Forest

Today north coast conservationists say they are shocked and alarmed at footage of the devastation being wrought in Ellis State Forest south of Grafton.

Mental health explored at Ballina symposium

250 people attended the first free Community Mental Health Symposium last Thursday at Ballina RSL, with a range of expert speakers from various organisations explaining the dimensions of the problem and how best to move forward.