Bicycle Network: Behaviour
- Garry Brennan
Now that more bike riders are on the road, Police will be paying more attention to our rights and welfare.
Amulet protects from traffic threat
13 February 2014. Victoria Police have launched Operation Amulet, its major, annual blitz to reduce the risk on the road to riders and pedestrians in inner Melbourne, and this year for the first time, on Beach Road.
Named operation Halo in previous years (see below), the campaign has been enlarged and will tackle driver and rider behaviour on Route 33 (Beach Road) on selected weekends during the next few months.
According to Police, no vehicle has a monopoly on Victoria’s roads – everyone travelling on foot or four wheels, bicycle or motorcycle has the right to travel safely.
The Amulet initiative seeks to promote the safety of vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians which are traditionally over-represented in road trauma.
Police intelligence for the month of February over the past five years showed that cyclists were particularly prone to collisions, accounting for more than half of all crashes involving vulnerable road users in inner Melbourne.
Cyclists along the popular weekend Beach Road route from Port Melbourne to Frankston fared even worse, with cyclists involved in three-quarters of vulnerable road user collisions in the past five years.
Sergeant Arty Lavos, State Bicycle and Vulnerable Road Users Coordinator said failure to give way, disobeying traffic signals and speed were among the most common causes of collisions involving cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
“Many collisions occur at intersections where drivers fail to give way to cyclists or pedestrians, particularly when turning right.
“We also see crashes happen when drivers and passengers open car doors into the path of an oncoming cyclist.”
Sgt Lavos said collisions also occurred when cyclists rode more than two abreast or disobeyed lane markings and traffic signals, putting lives at risk.
Pedestrians all too often diced with death by crossing against red signals and away from designated crossings.
“We need to change the culture where people believe it’s every person for himself on the roads,” Sgt Lavos said.
“Whether you’re a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian, everyone has a right to expect to travel safely on our roads.
“We’re all part of the same community and we need to work together to make the roads safer for everyone.
“This operation is not about casting blame – it’s about raising awareness of the dangers faced by our vulnerable road users and how each of us can contribute to a solution.”
Road safety expert Bruce Corben said both drivers and pedestrians needed to take responsibility for their conduct on the road.
“Pedestrians, cyclists and others lacking protection in traffic must be highly focused about their responsibilities when mixing with the wide array of vehicle types commonly encountered on city streets,” he said.
Police from the State Highway Patrol, Bicycle Squad, Solo Unit, local police stations and the Operations Response Unit will be deployed to collision hotspots this month to enforce the road rules and promote the safety of all road users.
Areas targeted include the Melbourne, Boroondara, Stonnington, Port Phillip and Yarra Police Service Areas.
Hell Ride crack down
11 November 2013. Police are cracking down on the rule-floating riders that join the Hell Ride down Beach Road every Saturday morning.
Moorabbin Highway Patrol officers have monitored the ride for many years and say the while the vast majority cyclists were cooperative, a small number of riders within the Hell Ride continued to flout the road rules.
Moorabbin Highway Patrol, Senior Sergeant John Cormack warned that police would act to disrupt and enforce any instances of dangerous behaviour, including disobeying traffic signals and riding more than two abreast.
“A big problem we have is bunch riding, which is where cyclists ride in large groups,” he said.
“When the groups approach traffic lights, what often happens is that the first riders get through but the remainder of the group are running red lights.
“This is incredibly dangerous, particularly when there are pedestrians crossing.”
Sen Sgt Cormack said police were committed to working with cyclists to ensure a safe ride for everyone involved.
"Cycling is a fantastic form of recreation and a great way of keeping fit and active, and we want to work with cycling groups where we can but it's important to put safety first."
"It's essential that the road is safe for everyone, especially one of our most vulnerable road users."
"Riding a bike is no different to driving a car - you need to be concentrating, obey the laws and be courteous to other road users."
Up to 200 highly competitive riders join the bunch, which leaves Black Rock at 7am and heads to Frankston, the police said.
Police launch Operation Cadel
31 October 2013. Police will take extra care of bike riders on the Bellarine Peninsula this summer, with the launch of Operation Cadel.
The operation will run through November, December and January and aims to reduce bike-related road trauma and increase awareness of bicycle safety among all road users.
Bellarine Police Senior Sergeant Angelo Ferrara said the Peninsula had a strong cycling culture which increases in number over the warmer months, particularly through the summer.
"This increases the risk of serious injuries and fatalities, especially when our roads are shared with locals and holiday makers in their cars," Snr Sgt Ferrara said.
“There have been two fatalities in these areas so far this year, which as we all know is two too many.”
Operation Cadel will be rolled out in two phases – education followed by enforcement and police will use a combination of vehicle, foot and bike patrols as part of the highly visible campaign.
When the enforcement phase is introduced, a zero tolerance approach will be adopted.
Snr Sgt Ferrara said riders should ensure that their bike was in roadworthy condition and well-lit at night.
“Motorists should ensure they look out for bikes on the road and allow cyclists enough space to ride safely,” he said.
“Police will be watching, acting and enforcing the road rules for the safety of all.”
"Summer time on the Bellarine Peninsula means fun with family and friends, but in order to protect our loved ones all road users need to be vigilant."
Court shears bike attacker
17 September 2013. A 'binge drinking' shearer who attacked a passing bike rider in Port Fairy on July 3 has been convicted and shorn of $2500 by the Warrnambool Magistrates Court, the Warrnambool Standard reports.
Terry Wise, 21, of Scott Street, Mortlake, also has to pay $120 compensation for damage to the victim's bike.
Wise pleaded guilty to charges of recklessly causing injury, criminal damage, being drunk and being in possession of a dangerous article.
Police told the court that Wise and a co-accused were drunk on Bank Street, Port Fairy, when they decided to stop and bash the bike rider. Wise’s partner--his cousin--grabbed the rider’s arm, pulling him off his bike, and punched him to the head.
The victim punched him back and Wise attempted to hit him from behind with the cycling helmet. He also threw the man’s bike at him, striking him on the lower legs.
As the rider and another man watched, Wise and the co-accused armed themselves with an axe and a wooden rod and yelled threats until police arrived and arrested them.
Court awards Merc a perk
15 May 2013. The driver of a luxury Mercedes, who had been convicted of recklessly causing serious injury to a bike rider, was given a day's grace by the Geelong Magistrates Court to drive back to South Australia before the cancellation of his licence came into effect.
Lee Clifford, 35, of Streaky Bay, in South Australia, was behind the wheel of the Mercedes 4WD when he and his passenger, Timothy Wall, 32, of Paraparap, hatched a plan to attack two women cyclists riding along Horseshoe Bend Road.
Wall placed his upper body out of the window to strike the first cyclist as the vehicle passed, and although he missed, the attempt caused the rider to fall, dislocating her shoulder.
He then struck the second rider, but she was able to remain upright.
The two men pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the incident on September 24 last year, including recklessly causing serious injury, and were each fined $3000.
The men drove off after the incident, claiming they were not aware that a rider had fallen and was injured.
Magistrate Stephen Myall also disqualified Clifford from driving in Victoria for three months, but the he delayed the period by a day to allow Clifford to travel back to SA.
Hit-run charges pending
1 May 2013. Police have thanked the public for their assistance in the tracking down the hit-run driver who seriously injured a 76 year-old bike rider.
Police have interviewed a 21-year-old Templestowe woman following an alleged hit-run collision on Narrawong Road in Caulfield South on 27 March. She has been released pending summons.
She is expected to be charged with failing to stop after an accident, failing to render assistance and other traffic related offences.
The collision left a 76-year-old man with upper body injuries. He has since been released from hospital and is recovering.
Help find hit-run driver
4 April 2013. Police are seeking help in tracing a driver involved in a hit-run collision in Caulfield South last Wednesday morning which left an elderly man with multiple fractures.
It is believed the 76-year-old was riding his bicycle south along Narrawong Road around 8.30am when he was struck by a red hatch which had been driving east along Burrindi Road.
He was taken to the Alfred Hospital with non life threatening injuries.
The driver failed to stop at the scene and continued travelling along Burrindi Road.
Police are appealing for the driver to come forward and assist them with their investigation.
Investigators are also hoping to speak to anyone who may have seen the red hatch in the vicinity of Burrindi Road prior to the incident.
Police have released an image of the car involved in the hope that someone may be able to shed some light on the whereabouts of the driver.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.
Halo rings phone fiends
7 March 2013. Police detected 431 drivers illegally using mobile phones in four days last month during operation Halo, the periodic blitz aimed at offences related to bike riders and other vulnerable road users.
Uniform members joined the State Highway Patrol and Bicycle Patrol Unit to target inner-Melbourne hotspots in the Melbourne, Yarra, Boroondara, Stonnington and Port Phillip Police Service Areas (PSA).
Police focussed on morning and afternoon peak commuter times when most collisions occur.
A total of 1950 offences were detected during the four day operation.
As part of the highly visible operation, police discovered:
1475 car and truck offences, including:
• 431 using a mobile phone while driving
• 241 disobeying traffic lights and signs
• 10 failing to give way
198 motorcycle offences, including:
• 110 riding in a bicycle lane
• 6 disobeying traffic lights and signs
140 bicycle offences, including:
• 86 failing to wear a helmet
• 30 disobeying traffic lights and signs
• 8 riding on a footpath
• 3 failing to have lights or equipment
137 pedestrian offences, including:
• 108 disobeying traffic lights
• 21 walking improperly on road
• 2 crossing within 20 metres of pedestrian crossing
The Bicycle Patrol Unit nabbed 17 motorcyclists in less than an hour for riding in a bicycle lane on Rathdowne Street in Carlton on Friday 22 February.
Members were out in East Melbourne on Wednesday 20 February when they tried to flag down a car which had gone through a no left turn about 8.45am.
The vehicle attempted to evade police and turned back into Punt Road and continued driving. Two members rode after the vehicle and caught up with the driver at Albert Street. He was issued with a fine for fail to obey traffic sign and warned about failing to obey direction from police.
Shortly after at the same location, a scooter went through the no left turn and again tried to evade police.
The members rode towards Wellington Parade for about six blocks looking for the driver and caught up with him at some traffic lights. He was then issued with a fine.
Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said police would continue to conduct these types of operations to not only protect vulnerable road users but also raise awareness of road safety and the impacts of distractions.
“We need pedestrians to look up from their smart phones and be aware of their surroundings, we need motorcyclists to ride with care in heavy traffic, we need cyclists to obey traffic lights and we need drivers to always look for cyclists, motorbikes and pedestrians,” he said.
“There are more devices and distractions available than ever before and the consequences for vulnerable road users are dire."
“The new TAC distractions campaign, which launches today, shows how quickly inattention can end in disaster and highlights the dangers of taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds."
Operation Halo ran from 19 – 22 February.
Breakdown of Operation Halo results for each PSA
• 0 pedestrian offences
• 2 bicycle offences
• 0 motorcycle offences
• 222 car and truck offences
• 104 pedestrian offences
• 26 bicycle offences
• 16 motorcycle offences
• 259 car and truck offences
Port Phillip PSA
• 7 pedestrian offences
• 16 bicycle offences
• 3 motorcycle offences
• 90 car and truck offences
• 0 pedestrian offences
• 8 bicycle offences
• 7 motorcycle offences
• 46 car and truck offences
• 3 pedestrian offences
• 26 bicycle offences
• 1 motorcycle offences
• 98 car and truck offences
State Highway Patrol and Bicycle Patrol Unit
• 23 pedestrian offences
• 62 bicycle offences
• 171 motorcycle offences
• 760 car and truck offences
Halo circles again
21 February 2013. Police have launched the next phase of Operation Halo, the periodic inner-suburban blitz on road users who put cyclists and pedestrians at risk.
Sergeant Arty Lavos, State Bike Operations and Vulnerable Road User Coordinator, said road users needed to remember that regardless of their mode of transport, they were one community and needed to respect each other and share the road.
“Whether you’re a cyclist, a driver or a pedestrian, the emotional and often physical impact of road trauma is the same,” Sgt Lavos said.
“The cost to the community is the same, both financially and in terms of loss of life and injuries, and it hurts the same.
“This operation is not about casting blame – it’s about creating awareness around the common types of road trauma that involve vulnerable road users.”
An analysis of police intelligence for the month of February over the past five years showed that cyclists were involved in around three times more injury collisions in inner Melbourne than pedestrians and motorcyclists.
“Failing to give way is one of the most common collision types for cyclists and motorcyclists,” Sgt Lavos said.
“Many of these collisions occur at intersections when vehicles are turning right and fail to give way to oncoming riders.
“Cyclist and motorcyclists need to ensure they abide by lane markings and traffic signals and motorists need to understand that give way means give way to all traffic – cyclists, cars, trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians.”
The information also showed that people crossing against red signals and not at a pedestrian crossing were the most common causes of pedestrian collisions. A number of collisions also occurred when pedestrians were rushing across the road to catch a tram.
“While motorists need to give way to pedestrians at all intersections, not just ones with traffic lights, there’s also responsibility on the pedestrians to ensure that they are crossing in a safe way,” Sgt Lavos said.
“All road users – and that means pedestrians too – need to concentrate 100 per cent of the time.
“Common pedestrian distractions such as smart phones and listening to music with headphones in can have disastrous consequences.
“While it was encouraging to see fewer cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians killed on our roads last year compared to 2011, serious injuries among these road user groups remain high.
“We will continue to run these types of operations to protect our vulnerable road users and raise awareness of the road safety issues affecting them.”
The operation will ran for four days in the Melbourne, Yarra, Boroondara, Stonnington and Port Phillip Police Service Areas.
Police from State Highway Patrol, Bicycle Patrol Unit and local uniform members worked in road trauma hotspots and focusing on morning and afternoon peak periods when most collisions occur.
Operation Halo is part of Operation Limit which is designed to limit the amount of road trauma in the first two months of the year.
One community approach to road safety
Police are calling on all road users to adopt the ‘one community’ approach to safe travel – whether they’re travelling on two wheels or four, on a bike or in a truck, everyone has the right to travel safely on Victorian roads.
Halo blitz success hailed
31 October 2012. Police believe bicycled-related road behaviour is on the improve as they conclude another in the Operation Halo blitz series.
The average number of bicycle offences detected per day during Operation Halo 2 was around half the number detected per day in February.
Police detected 3265 motorbike, bicycle, pedestrian and car/truck offences from 9 to 19 October in a concentrated operation focused on vulnerable road users and running during peak commuter times at high-collision locations across the Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra, Boroondara and Stonnington Police Service Areas.
Police ticketed an average of 408 offences per day during the operation. The first Operation Halo that ran for 14 days in February detected an average of 455 offences per day.
Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing Robert Hill said it was good to see people taking better care on the road and being more aware of vulnerable road users.
“While it was disappointing that police detected more than 3000 offences during the operation, it is encouraging that the average number of offences detected per day was less than the average detected during our first Halo operation in February,” Mr Hill said.
During the operation, police targeted specific behaviours which contribute to road trauma involving vulnerable road users such as mobile phone use, failure to signal and disobeying traffic lights or signs.
On the second day of the operation, in just a two hour period, police issued 40 penalty notices to a spate of drivers for disobeying a no left turn sign in Hotham Street, East Melbourne.
The most shocking result was that 814 drivers were nabbed for illegal use of mobile phones. Another 384 drivers ran red lights and ignored traffic signs while only 25 bikes did the same.
Pedestrians continued their habit of ignored traffic signals with 228 being caught. And 150 motorbikes were pinged for riding in the bike lane.
The greatest number of pedestrian offences were in Melbourne while Yarra topped the count for bad bike riding behaviour.
Pedestrian Offences - 276
Disobey traffic control signal - 228
Walk improperly on road - 30
Cross within 20m of pedestrian crossing - 11
Bicycle Offences - 178
Fail to wear helmet - 113
Ride on footpath - 24
Disobey traffic lights or signs - 25
Motorcycle Offences - 291
Ride in bicycle lane - 150
Disobey traffic lights or signs – 8
Fail to give signal - 2
Car/Truck Offences - 2520
Disobey traffic lights or signs - 384
Use mobile phone - 814
Drive in bicycle lane - 9
Diverge when unsafe - 12
Fail to give way - 16
Alight from vehicle when unsafe - 1
Halo 2 launched
10 October 2012. Police yesterday launched Halo 2, the next operation in the enforcement series aimed at reducing road trauma involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists who commute to and from Melbourne’s CBD.
The 10-day operation will target the factors behind road trauma involving vulnerable road users.
Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing, Robert Hill, said today that over the past four years there had been around 50 collisions each October involving vulnerable roads users in an around the Melbourne CBD.
“With the weather fining up and a number of major cycling events such as Ride to Work Day and Around the Bay in a Day, October is considered the launch of the cycling and motorcycling season,” Assistant Commissioner Hill said.
“These events alone have the potential to place 20,000 cyclists on our roads.
“Cyclists make up almost half of all vulnerable road user injuries in and around Melbourne’s CBD and in around 75 per cent of cases, it’s car drivers who are at fault.
“This includes drivers failing to give way to cyclists at intersections, opening car doors into the path of cyclists and merging when unsafe.
“Throughout this operation we will be focusing on high pedestrian, cyclist and motorcycle traffic areas including Melbourne, Boroondara, Port Philip, Stonnington and Yarra.
“We’ll be targeting offences such as disobeying traffic signals, not wearing a helmet, riding on a non shared footpath and motorcyclists riding in designated bicycle lanes to prevent the amount of road trauma involving vulnerable road users.”
Police will also target drivers for distraction offences such as using a mobile phone while driving.
Operation Halo II follows the success of Operation Halo, run in February this year, where police issued more than 6000 infringements and achieved a 16 per cent reduction in road trauma to vulnerable road users, compared to the same time last year.
One hundred and six of the 287 (37 per cent) deaths on Victorian roads in 2011 involved vulnerable road users, including pedestrians (49), cyclists (8) and motorcycle riders and passengers (49).
Police bike campaign rolls out
1 October 2012. Victoria Police are this month rolling out their annual campaign to reduce the risks the the state's bike riders.
Called Safe Cycle month, the action involves both enforcement of the law, and friendly face-face interaction with the bike riding community. Good rides can even win a prize.
Police will use a combination of vehicle, foot and bike patrols as part of the highly visible campaign. It is the 29th year the action has been programmed in Victoria.
As rider numbers have surged in Melbourne and around the State, so have the numbers of Police riding bikes for commuting and recreation. The boys and girls in blue have a growing appreciation of the to difficulties riders can face on the road.
State Bicycle Coordinator Sergeant Arty Lavos said the action aims to increase awareness of bicycle safety amongst all road users and reduce bike-related road trauma.
"Victoria had the highest rate of cycling in Australia, with around one million Victorians riding a bicycle each week.
“With the deaths of 106 vulnerable road users last year alone, including cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, the need to increase awareness of this group has never been higher," Sgt Lavos said.
“It is easy for even an experienced and cautious road user to be put at risk by an unsafe decision of another."
Eight cyclists were killed across Victoria last year. So far this year there have been six cyclists killed on the roads.
Sgt Lavos is urging all road users to consider the safety of others on the road.
“Motorists should ensure they look out for bikes on the road and allow cyclists enough space to ride safely,” he said.
“Police will be watching, acting and enforcing the road rules for the safety of all.”
Cyclists who are observed displaying safe cycling behaviour during Safe Cycle Month will be given an information card by police.
This card contains road rules and safety tips, and cyclists will have the chance to win a number prizes.
“Bike owners need to check that their bike is in roadworthy condition and that their helmets are well fitted,” Sgt Lavos said.
"Wearing bright clothing and planning journeys in advance along safe routes will also reduce the risk of injury on the road."
Safe Cycle Month is a Victoria Police initiative, sponsored by VicRoads and supported by Bicycle Network and other bike organisations.
HALO hammer falls
2 March 2012. A total of 6365 offences which could have contributed to pedestrian, cyclist and motorcycle road trauma were detected as part of Operation HALO in February.
The operation involved about 100 police a day working across the Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra, Boroondara and Stonnington Police Service Areas (PSAs) in peak commuter times at high-collision locations.
As part of the operation, police detected:
607 pedestrian offences, including
- 555 disobey traffic light or sign
613 bicycle offences, including
- 351 fail to wear helmet
- 40 ride on footpath
- 184 disobey traffic lights or signs
429 motorcycle offences, including
- 165 ride in bicycle lane
- 31 disobey traffic lights or signs
- 15 fail to give signal
4716 car/truck offences, including
- 650 disobey traffic lights or signs
- 1509 use mobile phone
- 61 drive in bicycle lane
- 21 diverge when unsafe
- 26 fail to give way
Operation coordinator Senior Sergeant Dale Johnstone said police would now evaluate the impact of the operation by analysing road trauma patterns in inner Melbourne throughout February.
“Operation Halo is the first large scale operation ran by Victoria Police targeting road trauma involving our vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcycle riders and pedestrians,” Sen Sgt Johnstone said.
“That didn’t mean that we are targeting these road users – what our police were targeting were the factors behind road trauma involving vulnerable road users.
“For example pedestrians crossing against a red light, cyclists not wearing a helmet, motorcycle riders travelling in bicycle lanes and cars and trucks driving while using a mobile phone.
“Overall, most road users were doing the right thing, but the fact that we issued more than 6000 infringements shows that there is still a large number of people putting themselves and other at risk.
“Of particular concern was the fact we caught more than 350 cyclists not wearing a helmet – despite the fact 50 per cent of cyclists killed last year were not wearing a helmet.
“Similarly we detected over 600 pedestrian offences. We had a 26 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities in 2011 and that the majority of those killed were at fault in the collision.
“We are hoping this operation helped to raise awareness of these issues.”
Sen Sgt Johnstone said that one third of those killed on Victorian roads last year were vulnerable road users, including pedestrians (49), cyclists (8) and motorcycle riders and passengers (49).
The operation, involved police from State Highway Patrol, Operations Response Unit, Bicycle Patrol Unit and local uniform members.
Additional information – results by Police Service Area
PSA Pedestrian Offences
Port Phillip 85
Operation Support Department – all areas 163
PSA Bicycle Offences
Port Phillip 107
Operation Support Department – all areas 309
PSA Motorcycle Offences
Port Phillip 9
Operation Support Department – all areas 358
Bike cops chase down thief in Ford
2 March 2012. Police from Melbourne's Bike Patrol successfully chased and apprehended a driver fleeing through the city who was later found to have stolen goods in his Ford Falcon.
Bike Squad members spotted the black Ford Falcon travelling north on Elizabeth Street, near Therry Street, just before 3pm on Wednesday.
When the car failed to pull over after directed by police, the bike patrol pursued the vehicle along Elizabeth Street. Police observed the vehicle travel through three red lights and on the wrong side of the road.
The bike patrol were participating in Operation HALO (see below) prior to trying out for the cycling team for the London Olympics.
The Bike Patrol officers lost sight of the vehicle at the intersection of Peel Street, but later relocated and managed to intercept the vehicle at Flemington Road and Harker Street, North Melbourne.
It was also found that the man had stolen goods in the vehicle.
The driver, a 38-year-old Thornbury man, was arrested by police and has been charged with drive in manner dangerous, evade police, resist arrest and handle stolen goods. His vehicle has been impounded under hoon laws.
HALO hauls in offenders
22 February 2012. A massive 939 drivers have been hauled in for illegal mobile phone use during the first three weeks of operation HALO, the police campaign to make the roads a better environment for bike riders and pedestrians.
More than 130 motorcyclists have been snared for riding in the bike lane, as have 42 car and truck drivers.
Police have detected a total 3943 offences which could have contributed to pedestrian, cyclist and motorcycle road trauma in the first three weeks of Operation HALO.
The operation has involved about 100 police a day working across the Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra, Boroondara and Stonnington Police Service Areas in peak commuter times at high-collision locations.
Typically for Melbourne, large numbers of pedestrians have been nabbed for ignoring red lights—almost 340. They were joined by 353 cars and trucks, and 22 motorcyclists committing the same offence.
Regrettably 139 bike riders also ran the red and will pay the price.
Some motorbikes have also been found to have developed the habit of failing to use their indicators and have copped fines.
Seventeen car drivers were caught for diverging when unsafe and the same number were nabbed for failing to give way.
And five drivers were caught for alighting from their vehicles when unsafe, the situation which causes dooring deaths and injuries.
Two hundred and thirty-seven riders were detected not wearing helmets and a further 29 riders were caught riding on the footpath.
State Bicycle Coordinator Sergeant Arty Lavos said while police police were targeting road trauma involving vulnerable road users, that did not mean that they were targeting these road user groups.
"What we are targeting is the factors behind deaths and serious injuries involving vulnerable road users," he said.
“Our road toll is currently 47 – that’s 15 higher than this time last year. Of those deaths, four have been cyclists, five pedestrians and six motorcycle riders.
“We know we had a 26 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities last year and we don’t want to see this happen again.
“This operation is about raising awareness of these issues on our roads and working together to make a difference.”
The operation, which involves police from State Highway Patrol, Operations Response Unit, Bicycle Patrol Unit and local uniform members will run to the end of February.
The HALO net is set
9 Februaruy 2012. Operation HALO has been going a week and is already netting large numbers of offenders.
More than 1800 offenders have already been booked for behaviours that put bike riders and pedestrians at risk on the roads.
Almost 230 of those have been bike riders.
But the majority have been car and truck drivers with almost 1240 being grabbed by the Police.
One hundred and fifty motorcyle riders have also been snared in HALO's net.
And 258 pedestrians have been nabbed, although it is understood from police that this is just the tip of the iceberg as pedestrians continue to throng across intersections against the red light.
HALO is rolling
1 February 2012. Operation HALO, the Victoria Police month-long operation targeting road trauma involving bike riders and pedestrians across Melbourne’s inner suburbs, started rolling today.
Operation HALO will see about 100 police a day working across the Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra, Boroondara and Stonnington Police Service Areas (PSAs) targeting issues that contribute to vulnerable road user collisions, according to the Head of Road Policing, Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe.
“Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders are our most vulnerable road users and we have been particularly concerned about the 26 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities last year,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean that we will just be targeting pedestrians, cyclist and motorcycle riders who breach the road rules. We will also be targeting offences committed by drivers of motorcycles, cars and heavy vehicles who contribute to this road trauma.
“This includes driving in marked bicycle lanes, driving whilst distracted, speeding or failing to give way at intersections.”
There were 287 deaths on Victorian roads in 2011, of which 106 (37 per cent) deaths involved vulnerable road users, including pedestrians (49), cyclists (8) and motorcycle riders and passengers (49).
Of the eight bike riders who died, four (50 per cent) were not wearing helmets.
Mr Walshe said the operation aimed to raise awareness amongst all road users.
“We need pedestrians to look up from their smart phone, pull out the earphones and be aware of their surroundings at all times and comply with pedestrian signals. We need motorcyclists to ride with care in heavy traffic and be aware of the dangers of lane splitting or riding in bicycle lanes.
“We need cyclists to obey traffic lights and signs and ride with caution in built up traffic. And we need drivers to always look for cyclists, motorbikes and pedestrians, particularly at busy intersections and when opening car doors.
“If we all work together we can make an impact.”
The five inner-Melbourne councils have been selected for the operation due to high rates of road trauma involving vulnerable road users in each area.
Police from State Highway Patrol, Operations Response Unit, Bicycle Patrol Unit and local uniform members will be working in road trauma hotspots and focusing on morning and afternoon peak periods when most collisions occur.
The operation will run for 14 days throughout February with the help of a TAC promotional team campaigning for pedestrian safety today in the CBD.
The TAC Green Team will be drawing attention to the importance of pedestrians using designated crossings, and rewarding those who cross safely with high fives and give-aways.
Meanwhile, the final road toll results show that in 2011 (data compared with 2010):
• There were 129 deaths in metropolitan Melbourne, up from 125 in 2010.
• There were 158 deaths in country Victoria, down from 163 in 2010.
• Victoria recorded 5.1 deaths per 100,000 population compared to 5.91 in the rest of Australia in 2011.
• There were 49 pedestrian deaths, an increase of 26 per cent.
• People aged over 70 accounted for 16 pedestrian fatalities (32 per cent), 12 people killed were aged 80 or above (24 per cent).
• Forty-nine fatalities (17 per cent) were motorcyclists, equal to 2010 but an increase of four on the five year average.
• Five of the motorcyclists (13 per cent) were not wearing a helmet.
• Of the eight fatalities involving cyclists, 50 per cent (four) were not wearing a helmet.
• Heavy vehicles were involved in 38 fatal collisions (15 per cent), a decrease of 21 per cent.
• Thirty-six (26 per cent) of drivers and passengers killed were not wearing a seatbelt.
Mr Walshe said speed, alcohol and drugs and vulnerable road users would be the major focus areas of police in 2012.
“An analysis of road toll figures show that speed is believed to be a major contributing factor in about 20 per cent of collisions which resulted in fatalities,” he said.
“Research shows that if all drivers dropped just 1km/h off their average speed we could save about 15 lives every year and avoid up to 300 serious injuries.
“Make no mistake, speed is a killer and we will continue to strictly enforce speed limits in all areas of the state.
“Analysis also shows that alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in 36 collisions which resulted in fatalities (14 per cent). While this shows a decrease on our five year average (19 per cent) it is still concerning to see alcohol having such an impact in road trauma.
“Police will be out in force breath testing motorists at all times of day and night throughout the year. Don’t take the risk and you won’t be caught.”
New push on bike safety
25 January 2012. The State Government is about to launch two major campaigns aimed at reducing the risks of riding on the road.
In development for months by Victoria Police and VicRoads, the projects are a response to the massive growth and popularity of bike riding in Victoria, and the resulting need for better understanding among road users, and less conflict and road trauma.
Both campaigns will be high profile and will be welcomed by riders. Bicycle Network was consulted during the development of the campaigns.
The Victoria Police activity will be launched first, and will comprise of an intense 14 days of operations during February, with about 80 police a day working across inner Melbourne in the Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra, Boroondara and Stonnington local government areas.
These areas are being targeted due to high rates of road trauma with vulnerable road users. Analysis shows the targeted local governement areas are high risk for this road trauma throughout February.
It will involve local police as well as members from the State Highway Patrol, Operations Response Unit and Regional Bicycle Patrols.
It will focus on reducing vulnerable road user trauma involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
The Police insist the operation is not about solely targeting these road users - it's about the behaviour of all road users.
Police will be enforcing all road rules related to increasing the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders.
Police have stated that a key part of the operation will be educational and awareness messaging, and they are working with the TAC to support the operation with creative media communications.
More details on these plans will be available closer to the launch.
VicRoads' bike safety project is expected to roll out the week after the Police operation is launched.
Details have not yet been made public but an outline was contained in VicRoads evidence before the Coroners Inquest into the death of bike rider, James Cross.
VicRoads' campaign will be directed at increasing mutual respect among road users, and promoting the legitimacy of bike riders as road users with the same rights and responsibilities as drivers.
There will be an attempt to enlighten road users about important road rules which are often not understood, resulting in hostility towards bike riders.
The project is expected to make extensive use of social media and public participation, and will run through most of February into March.
Police change crash reports
14 July 2011. A change in the way Victoria Police report crashes may disadvantage bike riders, according to legal experts.
Bicycle Network is asking riders to be vigilant and thorough in obtaining details from other parties, and in assessing and documenting juries, in order to ensure that their rights are protected.
The police have announced that from July, they will no longer record collisions where there are no injuries and the owners of damaged vehicles and property can be notified.
The change aims to reduce time spent by police on administration and paperwork, and streamline processes.
Non-injury collisions with all parties present make up about 70 per cent of crashes reported to police. However, police only use data on injury and fatality collisions to inform decisions around operations and focus areas.
According to law firm Maurice Blackburn, the changes are concerning as bike crash injuries sometimes do not present until a day or more later, and also police crash reports are often essential in claiming damage costs from the motorists insurer.
"The biggest concern will be for people who suffer injuries that do not manifest until a day or so later (which is often the case with whiplash type injuries which can tend to progress to more serious spinal injuries), Maurice Blackburn said.
"If there is no police report, arguing liability may be difficult.
"There is also the problem of parties giving false information when exchanging details. From a cyclist's perspective, if they get the registration details of the car, they should be ok.
"However, it will be more difficult getting the contact details of the registered owner of the vehicle if such details can no longer be obtained through the collision report.
"We stress to riders the importance of getting the registration details of the vehicle involved in the accident."
The police state they will continue to investigate and deal with any offences detected, and that this change will not impact on when police attend collisions.
“However, it means that if there are no injuries, all parties involved in the collision are there and able to exchange details, and there is no traffic hazard, police do not need to attend or take an official report, police said.
- If people are involved in a collision, they only need to report to police where:
- Any person involved in the crash is injured (call Triple Zero (000) immediately).
- The collision is causing a traffic hazard (call Triple Zero (000) immediately).
- There is any ongoing danger to people or property (call Triple Zero (000) immediately).
- A driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs (call Triple Zero (000) immediately).
- Damage was caused to property other than your vehicle (such as another car, fence) and it is not possible to contact the owner.
- There has been a hit and run incident where damage was caused and details were not exchanged.
Full details need to be exchanged between the parties, including name, contact address and vehicle registration.
Police have acknowledged that sometimes an injury is not immediately apparent. "If an injury arises at a later time, this must be reported to police and a Collision Report will be created", they said.
Trucks cop scrutiny
5 May 2011. Police have launching a month-long action directed at heavy vehicle road activity following the death of 56 people in truck related collisions last year.
Five of the deaths were bike riders, a significant proportion of the eight riders who lost their lives on the road last year.
Police emphasised that their message isn't directed solely at truck drivers: an investigation of all the fatal collisions last year found 65 per cent were not the fault of the heavy vehicle operator.
This has led police to call on all road users, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers to change their behaviour when sharing the road with heavy vehicles.
Road Policing Superintendent Neville Taylor said: "We know that when a heavy vehicle is involved in a road collision, chances are the outcome is not going to be good.
"Our research shows that other road users are not being vigilant enough around heavy vehicles.
"Never cut in front of a truckâ€”they simply don't have the same braking ability as cars; don't linger alongside a heavy vehicle to ensure you are visible to the driver and not in a blind spot; and check the truck's mirrorsâ€”if you can't see the driver they can't see you," Supt Taylor said.
For more information on how to ride around heavy vehicles see this recent article from RideOn Magazine.
"This operation will target fatigue, speeding, drug use and unroadworthy vehicle offences within the heavy vehicle industry as a way of making the state's highways safer for all road users," Supt Taylor said.
"Police from the State Highway Patrol, including all members of the Heavy Vehicle Unit, and the Road Policing Drug and Alcohol Section will all take part in the operation - as well as highway patrol units across regional Victoria.Also taking part in the operation will be VicRoads TSS officers and Worksafe Victoria.
"Police will be out for the entire month checking work diaries and drug testing drivers to ensure our roads are safe for all road users.
"The majority of heavy vehicle operators are doing the right thing. However, there are still a number of operators who aren't managing thisâ€”and it's those operators we are targeting."
Bike blitz reveals car phone hazard
21 February 2011. A two-day Police blitz focusing on bike crash black spots in the city has bagged an alarming 59 drivers illegally using mobile phones in the CBD's hectic streets.
Using a mobile phone while driving causes driver impairment equal to being drunk behind the wheel, greatly increasing the risk of collision with bike rider.
Despite heavy penalties, huge numbers of drivers seem determined to continue to phone and drive.
Police detected 417 people breaking road rules during Operation Nora, with pedestrians being the worst offendersâ€”147 being caught flouting red lights.
There were 76 bike riders caught for the same offense. Another 16 bike riders were nabbed for riding on the footpath.
Police members heavily patrolled cyclist black-spot areas in Melbourne's CDB, Carlton, Southbank and the Docklands with bicycles, on foot and in vehicles during the two day blitz.
Major intersections were targeted, with the corners of Swanston and Flinders streets and the Harbour Esplanade and Collins Street, being of particular interest to police.
The blitz revealed one major positive: fewer motorcycle rider are riding in the bike lane because there are now so many bikes in city bike lanes that motorcyclists often don't get any advantage riding in them. So they have switched to riding in the tram lane. Guess what? There is a fine for that too.
An earlier blitz in Fitzroy and Collingwood, Operation Spoke, aimed at addressing poor cyclist and driver behaviour has also been described as a success by Police.
Operation Spoke was both an enforcement and educational police crack-down which ran for 12 days this month.
The aim of the operation was to ensure cyclists and drivers were riding and driving safely in the City of Yarra.
Among the infringements handed out to drivers were a number for opening car doors into the paths of cyclists
“We are extremely pleased with the success of Operation Spoke as during the blitz, we only had one collision in the City of Yarra involving a cyclist,” Sgt Dean said. “This compares to a normal average of 15 collisions a month involving a cyclist in the area.”
Cops blitz motorcycles in bike lanes
7 February 2011. Melbourne Police were out in the city in force this morning to blitz motorcycles buzzing cyclists in Melbourne's bike lanes.
The law against motorbikes in bike lanes is openly flouted and the Police have moved to stamp out the dangerous practice.
The crackdown is part of operation Nora, which runs today and Thursday.
The operations focuses on bike-related safety issues and involved intensive patrols in black-spot areas.
Police members saturated streets in Melbourne’s CDB, Carlton, Southbank and the Docklands with bicycles, on foot and in vehicles during the two day blitz.
Operation Nora involves police from the Bicycle Patrol Unit, Transit, Divisional Licensing Unit, Melbourne West, Melbourne North, Melbourne East, St Kilda Road and Caulfield.
Major intersections will be targeted, with the corners of Swanston and Flinders streets and the Harbour Esplanade and Collins Street, being of particular interest to police.
Melbourne Senior Sergeant Andrew Falconer said the main aim of Operation Nora was to ensure cyclists and drivers were riding and driving safely around Melbourne.
"Police will focus on drivers and cyclists disobeying traffic signs and lights, cyclists failing to wear a securely fitted bicycle helmet, motorcyclists using bicycle lanes and vehicles stopping or parking illegally,” Sen Sgt Falconer said.
"Police will not only target offences committed by cyclists but also crack down on drivers doing the wrong thing."
“Reducing serious injury collisions is a high priority for police. And Operation Nora is just another way we can communicate the road safety message to the community.”
Falconer warned that cyclists could be fined $299 for failing to obey traffic lights and $149 for not wearing a bicycle helmet or holding onto a moving vehicle.
Collingwood & Fitzroy crashes worry Police
10 January 2011. Police have launched another blitz in Melbourne's inner north in response to the persistently high number of bike crashes in the precinct.
On average there was a bike crash once every two days somewhere in Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond during November and December.
Police have mapped these crashes by location, type and severity will spend the next 12 days intensely focusing on the problem areas with bicycles, on foot and in vehicles during peak cyclist times.
A significant proportion of the crashes were caused by "doorings", mainly in Smith Street.
Major bicycle routes including Brunswick Street, Smith Street, Swan Street and Bridge Road will be patrolled.
As well motorists opening car doors into passing cyclists, police will concentrate on cyclists disobeying traffic signs, not possessing lights at night, riding on footpaths and not wearing helmets.
Sergeant Greg Dean of Yarra Highway Patrol said Operation Spoke was both an enforcement and educational exercise to ensure cyclists and drivers were riding and driving safely in the City of Yarra.
"We want to raise the awareness of road rules and the appropriate bicycle behaviour within the cyclist community," he said.
"Reducing serious injury collisions is a high priority for police, and Operation Spoke is just another way we can communicate the road safety message to the community."
Sgt Dean said Fitzroy and Collingwood had recorded significant increases over the past few months regarding collisions involving cyclists. There were 95 bicycle collisions within the City of Yarra from 1 July to 31 December, 2010.
Operation Spoke involves police from Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond, Yarra Highway Patrol and the North Melbourne West Bicycle Patrol Unit.
The blitz runs from Monday 10 January to Friday 21 January, 2011.
Police to blitz bike HQ
13 October 2010. Australia's busiest bike suburbsâ€”Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmondâ€”will come under the glare of the Victoria Police spotlight this month during a campaign to improve bike rider behaviour.
The boys in blue will be checking on the fixies in black, issuing warnings for breaches of the road rules, but where necessary, stinging with a fine.
The blitz will be friendly, but firm, and local police will give a priority to education and behaviour change tactics. Police will be undertaking intercept surveys on behalf of Bicycle Network and the City, and behaviour incentives and information will offered.
The City of Yarra has a booming bike rider population, and the City and the local Police want to encourage the trend.
But night riding without lights is common, and red lights are often ignored, resulting in increased risk of injury.
Bike cops nab phone culprits
12 October 2010. Bikes have proved the ideal vehicle for police to pounce on drivers using mobile phones.
Members of the Melbourne Bike Patrol, because of their vantage point in the bike lane, have been detecting large numbers of drivers each day breaking the law pertaining to phone use in cars.
Leading Senior Constable Shane Davies said Police were seeing evidence that the use of a handheld mobile phone while driving significantly increased the risk of a crash.
"It is believed that a driver who uses a mobile phone is four times more likely to be involved in a crash," he said
"Victoria Police recognises mobile phone use as one of the most dangerous activities a driver can partake in and so long as drivers continue to break this law, police will continue to change their tactics to catch these people and protect the community," LSC Davies said.
In 1988, the Victorian Government enacted legislation prohibiting the use of handheld mobile phones by motor vehicle drivers.
This regulation was updated in 2009 to include rules relating to the use of audio/music and GPS with a mobile phone. Despite this regulation, there were 39,899 infringements reported by Victoria Police between November 2009 and July 2010.
Currently the fine for use hand held mobile phone while driving is $239 and three demerit points.
Driving while using a mobile phone can significantly impair a driver's:
• Reaction time
• Visual search patterns
• Ability to maintain speed and position on road
• Ability to judge safe gaps in the traffic; and
• General awareness of other traffic
Learner permit and P1 license drivers are banned from using any mobile phone function while driving.
For fully licensed drivers whilst driving, it is illegal to:
• Talk on a handheld mobile phone
• Send or receive text messages
• Play phone-based games
• Take photos.
• Hold a phone in any way. Holding includes resting the mobile on the driver's lap.
It is also illegal to perform these activities when your vehicle is stopped but not parked, such as when waiting at traffic lights. If your phone rings or you need to send a message while driving, pull over and park safely and legally before answering it.
People may only legally use a mobile phone while driving to make or receive a phone call or to use its audio/music functions provided the phone:
• Is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle, or
• Can be operated by the driver without touching any part of the body of the phone and is not resting on any part of the driver's body.
A driver can use a navigation device but it must be an integrated part of the vehicle design, or secured in a commercially designed holder, which is fixed to the vehicle. Using a phone as a GPS while driving is prohibited unless it is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle.
Peds pinged, drivers dinged, in CBD blitz
7 July 2010. The recent Victoria Police and TAC blitz in central Melbourne, which focused on reducing bike rider risks, nabbed 700 offenders.
Only 92 were bike riders.
A total of 421 pedestrians and 188 drivers were fined for various infringements.
Police feedback was positive on rider behaviour.
The police were particularly concentrating on motorists driving in bike lanes, and those who illegally park or stop in heavily-used bike paths and lanes.
Police also enforced the reserved area for cyclists at some controlled intersections, commonly known as a ‘bicycle box’, and were on the watch for pedestrians wandering into the path of riders at intersections.
Road users in CBD under scrutiny
22 June 2010. In a major step forward Victoria Police and the TAC are blitzing the city this week focusing primarily on motorists driving in bike lanes, and those who illegally park or stop in heavily-used bike paths and lanes.
The police activity signals increasing commitment to lowering the risks of bike riding as bike commuting becomes a much bigger share of traffic.
Senior Sergeant Andrew Falconer from Melbourne West police said along with pedestrians, cyclists are our most vulnerable road users.
“In the city area, cyclists are mainly hospitalised due to the opening of car doors in their path,” Sen Sgt Falconer said.
“Motorists and passengers need to be aware of the large number of cyclists sharing our roads and be more careful when getting in and out of vehicles.”
Motorists who drive in bike lanes face an on-the-spot fine of $175.
Sen Sgt Falconer said police will also be enforcing the reserved area for cyclists at some controlled intersections, commonly known as a ‘bicycle box’.
“Drivers need to ensure they stop at the first white line so that cyclists are able to stop in front of the traffic at the second white line so they are more easily seen.
Pedestrians failing to keep a lookout for cyclists will also be under the spot light with police patrolling black-spot intersections throughout the city area as part of the operation.
Intersections targeted include the busy Collins and Spring Street area which is heavily used by cyclists in morning and afternoon peak hours.
Sen Sgt Falconer said cyclists also need to adhere to the road rules including keeping left of tram safety zones which incurs a $292 on-the-spot fine, and stopping behind stationary trams while their doors remain open.
The operation began 21 June and will run through until 23 June.
Police focus on Yarra City
18 March 2010. The City of Yarra, home to Australia's keenest commuting cyclist community, will be the focus of a police blitz for the next week.
According to Acting Senior Sergeant Andrew Atkinson from Collingwood police station the volume of cyclists in the area has increased by 111 per cent since 2004, with the busiest bike locations being Canning Street in Carlton, Queens Parade in Clifton Hill, and Johnston and Wellington Streets in Collingwood.
“It is great to see such a big increase in bike users across Melbourne and in the City of Yarra,” A/Sen Sgt Atkinson said. “However, as the number of cyclists increase, it is important to ensure that everyone, drivers and cyclists alike, are complying with the law.
“The majority of cyclists do the right thing, but a small minority are putting themselves and others at risk.
“Police are sick of seeing risky behaviour by cyclists such as riding through red lights, it is this sort of behaviour that puts riders at risk of injury.”
A/Sen Sgt Atkinson acknowledged the need for motorists to be aware of cyclists.
“While we will be targeting cyclists who are breaking road laws, it is imperative that motorist learn to share the roads with bike riders,” he said.
“All Yarra residents should be aware that we have a high number of cyclists using local roads and they need be aware of where bikes are when driving and also look before they open their car doors after parking.
“It’s up to all of us to reduce the number of serious injuries and death on our roads.”
Riders face a $234 fine for riding through a red light and a $136 fine for being caught without a helmet.
Picture: Visible in the background Police are booking motorcycle riders for motoring in the bike lane in Wellington Street, Collingwood.
Blitz on bike box bullies
18 November 2009. Police will start cracking down on vehicles that intrude on the reserved area for bikes at intersections from next week.
The bicycle box at intersections is now protected by law following the introduction of new Road Rules on November 9.
Car and motorcycle drivers have previously treated the reserved areas (called bicycle boxes) with impunity, threatening the welfare of bike riders.
As the law change is recent, Police will initially issue warnings to offending drivers.
The enforcement kicks off with a three day blitz starting Tuesday, 24 November.
Another welcome focus of the blitz will be motorbikes and scooters travelling in bicycle lanes, as well as taxis using bike lanes as parking spots and thus forcing bikes out in front of trams.
Drivers using mobile phones will be targeted. Bike riders and pedestrians running red lights at city intersections will also come under scrutiny.
Police are expected to bring more attention to bike related issues in the future, in recognition of the much greater numbers of riders on the road.
The Melbourne West Bicycle Squad, which covers the inner Melbourne area, will be expanded from early next year with additional staff in leadership and operational positions.
In addition, a pool of specially trained officers from elsewhere in the force will be created to be drawn upon to supplement the bike squad when required.
For more on the new road rules.