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Government push for cyclist licences to boost safety

A NSW government plan could see cyclists having to register their bicycles.
News Corp Australia network

11 May 2015 • 3 min read

NSW cyclists could be forced to obtain a rider's licence and face stiffer penalties for unsafe riding and the flouting of road signs and traffic lights.

Roads minister Duncan Gay wants to curb the dangerous and illegal lunatics who put pedestrians and other road users at risk and make the streets safer for everyone.

Mr Gay said he was "increasingly persuaded" that a bike licence scheme - potentially involving cyclists paying a fee to register their bikes - was needed in NSW following a series of horrific accidents involving riders, cars and pedestrians, including two fatalities.

"It's not going to worry the (cyclists) that are doing the right thing, but the bad ones that are running lights, crossing over, being aggressive, they're a large part of the statistic," Mr Gay said last year just days after a male cyclist was killed in a collision with a bus at Neutral Bay.

The minister will convene a discussion between insurance groups, cyclists, the police and other interested parties within two months at which bike licensing will be seriously discussed, along with other possible ways to ease concerns about road safety.

"I have committed to a roundtable to discuss cycling issues and recommendations in Sydney including penalties, licensing options and traffic regulations," Mr Gay said.

"I want to bring all the relevant groups together including NSW Police, cycling clubs and groups, insurance organisations, transport and pedestrian representatives as well as local and state government.

"This roundtable is key for the ongoing safety of cyclists and all road users - we want to get this right."

Labor City councillor Linda Scott said licensing was "worth investigating" but said enforcement would be hard.

Previous discussions around bike licensing in NSW have centred on licensing the bike rather than the cyclist, and it is understood that would be the method favoured by Mr Gay.

Bike trips are said to have doubled in the past four years. Independent councillor Angela Vithoulkas said: "As the number of bike riders increases we will need additional resources to monitor the bike lanes for unlawful action".

"Every now and again serious injuries to pedestrians make headlines, but I've seen countless numbers of near-misses that occur each day."

Liberal councillor Christine Forster also called for greater safety measures. "The city should be more focused on improving safety on shared paths, where our current signage suggests bikes, not pedestrians, rule the road," she said.