Don’t use your mo­bile on a bike

Mo­torists, cy­clists cop a bunch of five new rules at once

Herald Sun - - NEWS - AN­DREW JEF­FER­SON an­drew.jef­fer­

MO­TORISTS and cy­clists will have to con­tend with five new road rules com­ing into force to­mor­row.

They in­clude on-the-spot fines of $476 for cy­clists us­ing mo­bile phones — the same fine given to driv­ers from July 1 — and new give-way reg­u­la­tions for ve­hi­cles at in­ter­sec­tions with bike cross­ing lights.

Other rule changes per­mit cy­clists and coaches to use bus lanes, while a law that banned peo­ple from driv­ing with an empty bi­cy­cle car­rier at­tached to the rear of their ve­hi­cle has been axed.

The new rules are in ad­di­tion to the re­cently an­nounced change that driv­ers must slow to 40kmh for emer­gency ser­vices ve­hi­cles.

Dave Jones, RACV roads and traf­fic manager, said he was con­cerned about the lack of no­tice given to road users when sig­nif­i­cant changes were made to road rules.

“These changes come into ef­fect only days af­ter be­ing an­nounced and do not give road users enough time to ab­sorb the changes,” Mr Jones said.

“VicRoads needs to pro­vide more no­tice to the Vic­to­rian com­mu­nity about any changes to the road rules, and pub­li­cise the changes well in ad­vance. There should be greater com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, a manda­tory 30-day no­tice period and mass-media com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”

While RACV ac­knowl­edged the need to en­sure emer­gency ser­vices work­ers oper­ated in a safe en­vi­ron­ment, Mr Jones said he was con­cerned about the lack of un­der­stand­ing of the new rule.

“The slow-down re­quire­ment of the rule ap­plies in re­la­tion to emer­gency or en­force­ment ve­hi­cles in ser­vice roads, but not when the emer­gency ve­hi­cle is on the other side of a me­dian strip,” he said.

“RACV calls for the rule to be amended so that driv­ers do not need to slow for emer­gency ve­hi­cles in ser­vice roads.”

The state gov­ern­ment says the changes are aimed at tidy­ing up ex­ist­ing road rules and for­mal­is­ing cur­rent prac­tices. It says the emer­gency ser­vices road rule was de­vel­oped thor­ough con­sul­ta­tion with a work­ing group of emer­gency ser­vices and en­force­ment agencies, as well as other par­ties, over 18 months.

Min­is­ter for Roads and Road Safety Luke Don­nel­lan said the new road rules were com­mon­sense changes aimed at keep­ing peo­ple safe.

“VicRoads is run­ning an ex­ten­sive ad­ver­tis­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions campaign to let peo­ple know about these new rules,” he said.

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