Cycling road rule changes promote safer bike riding

27 June 2017

Bike riders found using hand-held mobile phones while riding can be issued with a $476 on the spot fine under a new road rule from July 1.

This means police no longer have to charge riders and take them to court, a costly and time-consuming process that ties up police resources.

Instead, police can issue cyclists an on the spot fine, just as they can to drivers of motorised vehicles found using a hand-held phone while driving.
 
This important change was considered necessary to encourage riders to cease this very distracting and potentially deadly behaviour and ensure all road users are treated in a courteous manner.

VicRoads Director Road User and Vehicle Access, Robyn Seymour, said using a hand-held mobile phone to text or make calls was just as distracting for a cyclist as it was for a motorist.

“Not paying attention, even for a split-second, while riding or driving can result in tragedy, and it is imperative that cyclists and drivers concentrate and focus when on our roads,” Ms Seymour said.

“Just like drivers, riders must pull over to the roadside and stop before they can touch their phone handset to text or make calls.” 

Other changes coming into effect on July 1 are designed to clarify existing road rules and practices.

Under VicRoads commitment to safer cycling provisions benefiting all road users, riders will be able to use most bus lanes where a dedicated bike lane does not exist, removing cyclists from car lanes.

Cyclists have used bus lanes on two of Melbourne’s busiest arterials, Hoddle Street and Johnston Street, for more than five years without any recorded crashes between bikes and buses, or impact on bus travel times. 

Riders have been able to access at least 14 Melbourne bus lanes for several years, and as of July 1, will be able to ride in all bus lanes unless otherwise signed. 

Research conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre shows cyclists are safer riding in bus lanes than in general traffic next to faster moving vehicles.

Other rule changes clarify that drivers must give way to bikes in a similar way to pedestrians at bicycle crossing lights and remove a redundant rule requiring rear-mounted bike carriers to be detached from vehicles when not in use.

The changes were developed following an independent review of Victoria’s cycling road rules and extensive consultation with the community, Victoria Police, cycling groups and the bus industry.

 



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