Cycling in the News: 19 – 25th October

In this piece from The Conversation, Academics Julia Quilter and Russell Hogg argue that policing of ‘over-the-top’ mandatory helmet laws for cyclists, particularly in New South Wales, is frequent and aggressive, and the ‘disproportionate’ fines are resulting in significant revenue raising for police. The authors also argue that helmet laws are being used by police for non-safety related reasons, including intelligence gathering, justifying searches and harassing individuals, especially young Aboriginals. There’s conflict in the Facebook thread, and debate over whether helmets are actually effective in improving rider safety.

On a related note, the Daily Telegraph reports that two protesters that staged a helmet-free bike ride through Centennial Park in 2018 calling for an end to mandatory helmet laws, have won a legal fight to have their fines dropped for refusing to wear helmets.

The Guardian reports that voting is currently underway to bring together 19 separate entities responsible for both recreational and elite cycling across the country. The proposed restructure is intended to facilitate better outcomes for cyclists, create ‘one voice’ for cycling advocacy and improve the sport’s financial position. However there has been strong resistance to the proposal.

The ACT Government has committed to fixing a section of the Monaro Highway where an endurance cyclist was killed after being hit by a car. No changes to cyclists’ lighting requirements will be made however, after it was decided that current legislation was sufficient. The Facebook thread is here.

Thousands of cyclists turned out for the annual Bowral Classic event, which raised more than $100,000 for various charities.

A potential design flaw in Brisbane City Council’s Metro might mean that cyclists and buses are forced to cross paths at the proposed South Brisbane station, presenting safety risks for cyclists. Some anti-cycling sentiment in the Facebook thread.

The Australian Federal Police in the ACT last week announced an initiative to target drivers who don’t leave sufficient room for cyclists. Police are also conducting public awareness exercises. ACT Police announced the initiative via Facebook, which to date has generated almost 2000 comments.

In international news, New York City is recalibrating its traffic lights to give cyclists priority. The move follows an increasing number of cyclist deaths in New York City, despite various measures to improve cycling safety throughout the city. Twenty-five cyclists have been killed in New York City so far this year, which is 15 more than all of 2018, and the highest toll in two decades. The city’s Transportation Commissioner has blamed the increase in SUVs and the gentrification of industrial areas for the deaths.

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