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Cycle rage: new rules for pack riders

November 29, 2009

Wear bright clothing. Leave MP3 players and mobile phones at home. Never ride more than two abreast. And never travel in packs of more than 20.

That’s the basic message for cyclists riding in groups contained in new NSW Government guidelines aimed at reducing the increasing number of road injuries and deaths.

“Riding in traffic can be safe and enjoyable for cyclists who follow some commonsense tips,” Assistant Transport Minister David Borger said today when he launched the safety campaign at a Darlinghurst coffee shop.

“We all know ‘the road is there to share’ and, in order to save lives, all road users need to obey the rules and respect others.

“Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road users and it is important they understand the safest way to travel.”

The guidelines were formulated with the help of Bicycle NSW, the state’s peak body for recreational and commuter cycling.

The group’s chief executive, Alex Unwin, said he was confident the measures would be adopted, despite not being enforceable.

“This will be embraced wholeheartedly by the vast majority of cyclists … it will help keep their groups safe, there’s no doubt about that,” Mr Unwin said.

Last year, there were almost 700 cycling accidents, three involving fatalities, in the Sydney region.

The number of deaths is expected to have doubled this year. There have been several highly publicised incidents recently.

They include two serious accidents on Southern Cross Drive and a case in Seven Hills in which a cyclist, who was allegedly riding illegally on a T-Way lane, followed and boarded a bus, before bashing the 64-year-old driver.

Parramatta police duty officer, Inspector Beth Sturton, said police had still not been able to identify the cyclist involved in the T-Way dispute.

“There’s still a couple of witnesses [we’re] trying to speak to but nothing’s come to light there that can identify the individual at this stage,” Inspector Sturton said. 

But Mr Unwin said he believed the growing popularity of cycling was helping keep cyclists safe.

“It’s counter-intuitive but as more people take to their bikes … [motorists] are more and more aware of people on bikes and take more care around them,” he said.

Mr Borger said cyclists, like all other road users, were expected to obey the rules.

“This includes all signs and signals, staying clear of moving motor vehicles, wearing a helmet, ride no more than two abreast unless passing and follow lane markings.

“Cyclists should also look out for pedestrians and give way to them and they are strongly advised to wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing to help make them more visible.”

Mr Unwin said the single most important thing new cyclists could do was take time to familiarise themselves with their bikes and build up their skills.

“It’s important to develop your skills and experience and not ride 50 kilometres on your first time,” he said.

“Take it slowly and steadily and build up your skills and understand how your bike works in different road conditions.”

– with Georgina Robinson

The comments are interesting. Again, unlike The Adelaide Advertiser, the comments seem to mostly come from cyclists.

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