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Cyclists put on notice in police blitz

Cyclists can accumulate demerit point for breaking road rules which could put their drivers licence at risk.

Police will launch a blitz on cyclists flouting road rules to coincide with the flood of amateur riders hitting the streets for the Santos Tour Down Under. 

Motorists have also been put on notice that police will be cracking down on cars parked illegally in bike lanes.

The blitz comes as police figures obtained by News Corp Australia reveal thousands of cyclists a year are caught breaking traffic laws. Operation Safe Cycling will begin on Sunday and run until the end of March in an effort to reduce cyclists creating "traffic hazards" and putting their safety at risk.

Officer in Charge of Traffic Support Branch Superintendent Bob Fauser, warned cyclists that they "must obey the same road rules as drivers of motor vehicles".

"At all times we ask cyclists to be aware that the same road safety rules, laws and penalties for drivers also apply to them," he said. He also said cyclists can accumulate demerit point for breaking road rules which could put their drivers licence at risk.

"We'll focus on cyclists disobeying road rules and traffic controls, including traffic lights and stop signs, riding at night without lights, causing traffic hazards by riding more than two abreast and not wearing helmets," Supt Fauser said.

In the 11 months to November, more than 3400 cyclists were cautioned or fined for failing to wear a helmet, 1500 for riding at night without either an appropriate front or rear light and 218 for riding on a footpath.

Recreational cycling group Bike SA said it was glad the police campaign would focus on cyclists and motorists. "Cars illegally parked in bike lanes force cyclists onto the main road space and that increases safety risks," Bike SA chief executive Christian Haag said.

The Motor Accident Commission is also using the Tour Down Under's high profile to promote road safety.

"The Tour Down Under is the time where a lot more people are getting the bike out the shed and riding maybe for the first time in months or years, and the operation is a good education." Mr Haag said the blitz and number of fines issued every year to riders proves 'they are not a law unto themselves or get away with breaking the law".

The Motor Accident Commission is also using the Tour Down Under's high profile to promote road safety. It will colour the Adelaide Oval and Riverbank footbridge yellow during the event to push its Be Safe Be Seen message.

MAC road safety general manager Michael Cornish said heeding the message could save lives.

"The Santos Tour Down Under is a hugely popular event and encourages many more people to get onto their bikes in January," Mr Cornish said. 'Whether you are a regular cyclist or just getting into the spirit of the Tour this month, MAC recommends that you wear fluorescent, light or generally bright clothing when riding."