I’ve had a flood of emails about this topic today so I thought I might do a short post about it. If you haven’t read the news about the new cycling laws here in Victoria, here it is briefly. Full story here.
Cyclists found to have killed or seriously injured a pedestrian will face penalties of up to five years in jail or a $68,000 fine, after tough new laws came into effect today.
“Cyclists need to recognise that, if they do occasion damage, they have responsibilities. They do need to stop,” said Roads Minister Tim Pallas said, launching the new laws this morning at a Bourke Street bicycle shop.
The new penalties, he said, would help police tackle reckless riding by cyclists, and reduce the likelihood of pedestrians, other cyclists or drivers suffering serious injury.
Very interesting reading some of the 250 comments on news.com.au from both drivers and cyclists’ perspecives. I think I’ll be staying off the road tomorrow and riding my mountain bike until I forget about some of what was said by some angry drivers…
This will hopefully raise the voice of the cycling community to strengthen the laws for vehicles who are aggressive and hit cyclists. We are abused and nearly killed every single morning we’re out riding and I don’t see any fines being handed out to drivers.
The way I see it, the good news is this. As cyclists we recognize that we’re all vulnerable and are part of a unique community, no matter what level you ride at. We have a collective voice and are fortunate enough to have organizations such as Cycling Victoria who rally on our behalf to make our voice heard. Drivers do not have this. Most have no passion towards driving and will not be collectively heard outside of a few individuals commenting on forums. Actually, that’s not true. I see the Association of British Drivers have a whopping 82 followers on Twitter.
Initiatives like 3 Feet Please and The Road Guardian are catching on. As silly as their jerseys look, I respect what they’re doing. Last month this law has been passed in Colorado (read full article):
The new law requires drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing. Violators risk a $110 fine. Throwing an object at a rider could constitute a class 2 misdemeanor, which could net a more substantial $250-$1100 fine and a possible jail sentence of 3-12 months.
I see no reason why this won’t spread to cycling cities throughout the world as long as there are passionate riders pushing the cause.
If there’s one thing I’d like to tell drivers, it’s this: we’re not the ones slowing you down – it’s all the other cars on the road that are!