THE first person caught and fined under the State Government’s new legislation, enforcing a safe distance between cars and cyclists, will determine how the public reacts to the new rules. As of November 30, motorists will have to keep at least 1m from cyclists if they are driving less than 60km/h and 1.5m if they’re driving faster, or risk a $400 fine and loss of four demerit points. There’s no doubt the concept of this new rule is flouted all over the WA and if enforced, we can expect someone to be fined first thing Friday morning on December 1. It will prove that the new rule is not just a piece of paperwork but an active law that can’t be ignored. So while they’re there, police need to enforce current rules protecting pedestrians and motorists from cyclists flouting the rules. According to the Department of Transport… ‘When using a public road all bicycle riders must obey the same rules as other vehicles. The most common rules include those applying to traffic lights, stop signs, careless and reckless riding, riding under the influence of alcohol and keeping left’. That means cyclists need to stop at pedestrian crossings, give way to the right at roundabouts and come to a complete stop at stop signs. These rules protect cyclists, motorists and pedestrians and most importantly save lives. They currently, and never will, appease the tension between the different road users.
It is very disappointing that Ms Cahill has not bothered to address her understanding of the Western Australia Road Traffic Code before she felt it necessary to comment. I hope Ms Cahill takes appropriate steps to get informed before driving a motor vehicle again.
I am referring here on her comment “to give way to the right out roundabouts.” To my knowledge there is no such rule in the Road Traffic Code 2000 . The relevant part of the subsidiary legislation is Part 9 Roundabouts. I suggest a read of same . That said I draw your attention in particular to regulation 95. Right of way in a roundabout which is the actual regulation you should be familiar with. It states, “A driver entering a roundabout shall give way to a vehicle that is within the roundabout.”, not to your right, but to vehicle in the roundabout. A significant and important distinction.
That all said as person who chooses to ride a bicycle the most dangerous intersection type I encounter in my riding is a roundabout. In particular the MGIF as I approach the roundabout attitude prevalent in our driving community and secondly the failure to actually act in accordance with regulation 95. It got so bad with one particular roundabout on my daily commute where the risk of injury or worse was so extreme that I ended up fitting cameras to my bike and reporting the worse of the offending drivers. Thankfully this was one area of driver behaviour the WA Police actually acted on and fined the drivers.
Regretfully it does not change the behaviour of other drivers and no I didn’t have a realistic alternative route option, not that should matter. It is NOT HARD to drive your motor vehicle responsibly and safely and with due care to others.
So Ms Cahill, no I don’t need to change my behaviour as I don’t endanger motor vehicle operators, they endanger me. Your comment on people riding bicycles putting motorists at risk is simply not supported by facts.
As to your other comments about cyclists behaviour. Lets focus on just one point: In the past 12 months according to BITRE data 31 cyclists, 160 pedestrians and 1,046 motor vehicle occupants where killed on Australian roads. To my knowledge not one pedestrian, driver, passenger or motorcyclist was killed in that period by a person riding a bicycle, yet the research and past commentary by senior police officers indicates that approximately 80% of incidents involving people riding bicycles where the fault of motorists.
Sadly in the last few days we have been reminded of this with the hit and run of 13 year old girl riding a bicycle.
So no Ms Cahill, my behaviour as a cyclist does not have to change to justify the introduction of safe passing laws. I suggest instead you reflect very carefully on where the significant problem lies; who is doing the killing of those 1,046 people? Who is destroying families? Finally and most importantly your own values.
My choice, anyone’s choice of transport should have no bearing whatsoever on your attitude towards them. They are people Ms Cahill, mums, dads, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. They have as much right to get home to the families safe and sound as you do.
I hope you reflect carefully on this going forward and I hope in future that the Community Newspaper Group ensures “Our Opinions” are factually based.