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Christmas bike lights Bicycle Network
Tips for talking turkey this Christmas

As well as food, drinks and cheer, events during the festive season tend to include questions from non-bike-riding folk about why you choose two wheels to get around.

To help, we've got some quick responses to the top questions you'll get asked this holiday season. 

Q: Why don’t bike riders pay registration?

A: Nowhere in the world registers bikes. It would make it difficult to ride a bike, and bike riders already pay for the roads they ride on through taxes.

Q: Why do cyclists wear lycra?

A: Many people who ride bikes choose to wear lycra because it can be more comfortable and aerodynamic over longer distances.

But lycra isn't compulsory - it just depends on the kind of riding you want to do or how comfortable you are. In Eurporean and American cities that are famous for their bike riding culture you don’t see many people in lycra at all.

Tips for talking turkey this Christmas lycra
Q: Why doesn’t every bike rider wear hi-vis clothing? It should be the law.

A: Bike riders shouldn’t wear clothes that make it difficult to be seen, but there is no reason why they should have to wear hi-vis. Hi-vis relies on the sun’s ultraviolet rays to interact with the brightly coloured fabric so it doesn't help at night, when there is no UV light present.

With the right lights, drivers will be aware of people riding bikes. 

If you do want to wear high visibility clothing reflective material is best. 

Interesting fact: The effectiveness of reflective material varies depending on where it is worn. According to research from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), reflective fabric is most visible to drivers when worn on the rider’s legs, as Dr Philippe Lacherez, lecturer and researcher at QUT’s Faculty of Health, explains: “Cyclists should add reflective strips to their knees and ankles because the pedalling movement makes light from headlights bounce back to the driver making it easier to register they are there.”

Q: How do I give a bike rider a metre when passing? There isn’t enough room on the road.

A: Just a like overtaking a slower vehicle you should always only do so when safe and where there's plenty of room. If the road itself is too narrow to pass then you’re probably on a street with a low speed limit.

If you can't pass, simply wait and be patient. 

If there are double or unbroken lines you are actually allowed to cross to safely pass a bike rider, if it is clear to do so.

Q: Why do people ride on the road when there is a perfectly good bike path? The road is for cars.

A: Our road exist to allow cars, trucks, trams, buses – and bikes – to move people and goods around from A to B. 

By law, people who ride bikes are legitimate road users and have the same rights and responsibilities as all other road users. 

There are some good bike paths and separated lanes, but they don’t go everywhere and don't connect. Often people need a quick route to their work or destination and the roads have been designed to do that. 

As a bike rider, we don't want to be in your way. We need more space to ride, so that everyone can get to where they need to go.  

What about helmets?

Australia's helmet laws can often be a conversation topic, but we know a lot of people have their own opinion on helmets.

You can give your point of view, and also mention we did our own 14-month review into Australia's mandatory helmet laws and recommended the following: 

  • Australia’s mandatory helmet laws should be relaxed with a five-year trial permitting people older than 17 to choose whether they wear a helmet when riding on footpaths or off-road cycle paths.

  • With more than 80% of bike crashes caused by people driving vehicles, we still believe that not enough has been done to improve Australia’s on-road conditions. This is why we can’t support a full repeal of MHL and bring Australia into line with the rest of the world.

We want to make one thing clear: our new position doesn’t mean we’re saying that bike riders shouldn’t wear helmets. We’re simply saying that in low risk situations, adult bike riders should be able to decide for themselves.

Read more about Bicycle Network's helmet policy review.