Bicycle Network: Behaviour
Bicycle Victoria position: Road rules
Bicycle Network Victoria's position on various issues relating to road rules
Bicycle Network Victoria supports the efforts of the police to enforce the traffic regulations as these regulations are the rules for sharing the road. When followed, they help reduce and prevent collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles.
Bicycle Network Victoria supports a cycling culture where cyclists are courteous to other road and path users and adhere to all traffic regulations. Stricter compliance will reduce and prevent crashes.
A culture of compliance will also help build community support for cycling and for changes to the road system to make cycling safer. To build this culture we must emphasise the rights and responsibilities or all road users.
Changes to the regulations that affect cyclists
Bicycle Network Victoria works to change the traffic regulations as they relate to cyclists and especially to modify inappropriate regulations which undermine our effort to build a culture of compliance.
For example, to strengthen cyclists rights, we support a change to the regulation that penalises riding on the footpath. Footpath riding is an appropriate choice in many cases and can be done without frightening or endangering pedestrians (who should always have right of way on a footpath).
To strengthen cyclists’ responsibilities we supported the recent change in the penalty for going through a traffic signal. This penalty is now the same for motor vehicles and bicycles.
Changes to the regulations that affect motorists
Bicycle Network Victoria works to change the traffic regulations as they relate to motor vehicle users especially to reduce behaviours that threaten, injure or kill cyclists.
When inappropriate behaviours are permitted, the culture of compliance by cyclists is weakened.
For example, we are working to:
- Introduce community reporting of hand held mobile phone use
- Include a category of in the Crimes Act which allows a culpable driving charge to be pursued for sleep deprivation in addition to negligence, recklessness, DUI alcohol, DUI drugs
- Introduce a roadside test for drugs other than alcohol.
See link (right) for more information on our campaigns to change the law.
A hierarchy of penalties for cyclists
Bicycle Network Victoria has been successful in establishing a hierarchy of penalties that puts more emphasis on prevention and less on secondary issues. Currently the penalty for going through a traffic signal is four times higher than for not wearing a helmet. This is appropriate as stopping at lights prevents crashes, while helmets only mitigate injuries in a crash.
Police approach to enforcement
Bicycle Network Victoria supports the police emphasis on education as well as issuing penalty notices. We also support the approach followed in the Safe Cycle program, which encourages police to reward positive behaviour, and penalise inappropriate behaviour.
Currently the police write more penalties for helmet wearing than any other infringement. We aim to shift the emphasis of police enforcement towards an education and prevention emphasis so that the traffic regs they enforce help prevent crashes.
We also work to educate police who show hostility to riders or who book cyclists incorrectly when they have been involved in a collision. We work with our community to help them report harassment in a way that enables the police to follow the matter up.
We work to support the process of reporting when police do not accept a report of harassment.
Cyclists' rights to use the road
Even when a shared path runs alongside a road cyclists are entitled, under the road rules, to ride on the road as a vehicle unless specifically prohibited (such as a freeway). For more see link (right).