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Council's call to register bicycles shot down by transport groups

Date

Aisha Dow and Carmelene Greco

Tom Quirk said licensing would 'definitely' discourage people form riding.

Tom Quirk said licensing would 'definitely' discourage people form riding. Photo: Jason South

A Melbourne council has been lampooned by cycling advocates and the RACV after petitioning for new laws requiring bicycles to be registered and cyclists to be licensed.

The Bayside City Council will ask the Municipal Association of Victoria to lobby the government for a major overall of cycling regulations. The borough is home to a popular weekend 17-kilometre run for cyclists, along Beach Road.

The council says if cyclists were forced to get a license or register their bikes, the police and the public could more easily identify cyclists who fail to adhere to the road rules. Its petition also calls for education programs to increase the awareness of the vulnerability of bicycle riders.

The proposal has been ravaged by the transport lobby, which says the reforms would be a huge and unnecessary cost for the state.

Bicycle Network Victoria spokesman Garry Brennan said the push to have bikes registered had long been a “dead duck”. He said almost every place in the world that had sought to implement the policy had later abandoned it.

“It’s too expensive and provides no benefits for the community,” he said.

 “If you say there is a problem with people leaving the scene of an accident, the problem is with motorists. ”

Mr Brennan said Bayside Council had a history of being anti-cycling, resisting for many years a successful move to introduce morning no-stopping zones for cars on Beach Road. He said local council had consistently voted against it until the Labor government gave them the money for it.

Bayside mayor Laurence Evans said the council’s motion to the MAV was prompted by a number of crashes between cyclists, in which one of the cyclists had left the scene. He said in one of these cases his friend was left with multiple injuries.

But Cr Evans conceded the motion probably needed reworking, because the council was unsure what was the best way to address the “issue” of law-breaking cyclists. He said the council “loved” people riding through the municipality.

“What we’re really doing is asking the government to look into the issue because it’s not just our problem.”

Bayside resident, Tom Quirk, 20, said registration of bicycles or the licensing of cyclists was "terrible idea".

Mr Quirk has worked at O'Mara, a popular bike shop on Beach Road, for four years and said a licence process would “definitely” discourage people from riding.

"They should be trying to encourage people to get out and stay healthy," he said.

"A lot of people get a bike to commute because it is cheaper, but now it’s not going to be cheaper, it’s going to be expensive as well.”

RACV’s road and traffic manager, Dave Jones, said the peak motoring group did not support bike registrations or licences. Because cycling is enjoyed by people of all ages, he said it would be more practical to invest in road education and training rather than implement a licence system.

160 comments

  • Whilst everyone seems to want to shoot down this idea, I would like to know what is being done to 'encourage' cyclists to obey the laws. I watch cyclists generate significant adverse impact to roads users across Melbourne. From blocking lanes whilst speeding down hills in the Dandenongs to running red lights these people seem immune to punishment. Is that because our police commissioner rides a bike? They are mobile road hazards in peak hour. Our roads are dangerous enough without needing to deal with law breaking cyclists.

    Commenter
    Gerry
    Location
    Glen Waverley
    Date and time
    May 07, 2014, 7:13AM
    • Were they speeding and blocking the lanes in the Dandenongs? Seems hard to do both unless the car they were "blocking" was also speeding...

      Commenter
      Immal
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 8:21AM
    • I agree. Also, what is being done about walkers? I see people crossing the street without looking both ways, not walking on the assigned footpaths and even some running with scissors at the pool. Imagine if they slipped and fell over, why they could momentarily distract a truck driver carrying an armed nuclear warhead sparking armageddon. It's just so irresponsible. Why won't anyone think of the children?

      Commenter
      Nick
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 8:28AM
    • Gerry, cyclists are not a tribe - stop lumping them together. Research shows that cyclists and drivers break road rules at about the same level - but when we see a driver behaving like an idiot we don't blame all drivers - we treat drivers as individuals. When you see a cyclist try thinking that's one less car on the road. Driving on horribly congested roads creates frustration in drivers and unless we can get more people onto public transport and bikes it's just going to get worse.

      Commenter
      Common sense
      Location
      Deepdene
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 8:28AM
    • @Gary

      What laws are you talking about being broken by cyclists exactly?

      How would registering a cyclist prevent these "law breaking"? Are you going to arrest them?

      What is the significant impact of a cyclist "speeding" down a hill in the Dandenongs anyway?

      How does registration stop law breaking drivers?

      Stupid suggestion supported by...

      There are laws for all these things

      Commenter
      Sensible bloke
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 8:29AM
    • Gerry, "speeding down hills in the Dandenongs"? There aren't too many cyclists capable exceeding the speed limit, evwn downhill!. "Mobile road hazards"? Only if motorists are trying to get past in a dangerous manner - cyclists are traffic, just like you. Wait for a safe opportunity as you would any other road user. I think your prejudice against cyclists is showing.

      Commenter
      Jim
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 8:33AM
    • There are two annual police blitzes on cyclists that run. They are called "Amulet" and "HALO".

      They focus on areas of high cyclist usage, the main commuter paths, Beach Rd and so on. Sadly, each year they still end up booking more motorists in the area than cyclists.

      In general operations, cyclists can be and are booked for road infringements in exactly the same way motorists are - pulled over and details taken.

      Cyclists do not "generate adverse impacts on road users". Cyclists ARE road users - I recommend you look up Ken Lay's informative Youtube talk on this.

      Cyclists make a significant contribution to reducing traffic congestion. A bike takes up 1/10 the space of a car and in heavy traffic is often faster than car traffic.

      Whenever you see a cyclist, you should smile and say thank you for improving your road experience. And if you have to wait for a few seconds before passing a cyclist safely, well, that's not going to kill you, is it?

      Commenter
      Riddley Walker
      Location
      Inland
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 8:43AM
    • Gerry, it is quite difficult to exceed the speed limit on many of the roads in the Dandenongs. It is however often feasible to ride at or close to the speed limit on many descents. Thus, the assertion of cyclists "blocking lanes" holds little water, unless you are speeding.
      Also, your mentality that cyclists are "hazards" is disgusting. Bikes (or cars) are only a hazard, if, for instance they are on the road at night without lights. You should be observing properly and making sure that you are aware of all road users. You should also be passing cyclists safely.

      The problem is with mentalities like yours, not with cyclists.

      Commenter
      G
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 8:52AM
    • I've seen pedestrians "generate significant impacts to roads users across Melbourne" as well. Should we licence and register people to walk across the street too?

      Commenter
      Darren
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 9:10AM
    • Be careful you may get what you wish for.
      Do you really want cyclists riding as we are entitled to legally? You would find that cars would be slowed down and aggravated to the extreme.
      Why not register all pedestrians too.
      Cities with a lot higher population density than ours manage, ants manage. Are they just smarter than you? They have a higher social conscience?
      Why the small mindedness about going through red lights. That is just envy. Generally it improves traffic flow and is a lot safer for cyclists and motorists as it allows spacing.

      Commenter
      white lightning
      Date and time
      May 07, 2014, 9:37AM

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