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Bike police pounce on driver distraction

Police on bicycles have proved yet again just how efficient they are at snaring distracted, selfish drivers.

An operation by Fawkner Highway Patrol in Melbourne’s inner-north has nabbed 415 drivers for mobile phone use.

Anyone who rides a bike knows how easy it is to detect mobile phone use while cruising through traffic on a bike.

For years politicians have been claiming that catching mobile phone use was difficult. But that was a view expressed from behind the car windshield.

In Melbourne, where even the highway patrol has bikes, there is no longer a barrier to the enforcement of distraction laws.

The Fawkner Highway Patrol Bicycle Unit set out to target the main causes of fatalities and serious injuries on Victorian roads, including excessive speed, driver distraction, seatbelt non-compliance, fatigue and drink and drug drivers.

However the overwhelming majority of offences detected, 415 of 456, involved driver distraction.

Fawkner Bicycle Patrol Sergeant Michael Free said the high number of people engaging in the behaviour that posed a risk to themselves and others was concerning.

“The numbers we saw during Operation Roadwise were very disappointing,” Sgt Free said.

“A large number of the collisions we attend are due to driver distraction, and mobile phones are a major cause of distraction while driving.

“It’s particularly concerning when we see this happening on busy roads with multiple road users such as trams, trucks and bikes.

“One second of distraction can lead to a devastating outcome with a lifetime of consequences.

“Not only is this an extremely dangerous risk, we want people to know that we are out there targeting this.

“We hear a number of excuses but I’m yet to hear a valid reason as to why someone would put themselves and other road users in such great danger,” Sgt Free said.

Those caught using their mobile phone in Victoria while driving can expect to receive an on the spot fine of $484 and the deduction of 4 demerit points.

Related: Review of distracted driving and device use rules underway

Click here to see other stories from Bicycle Network about distracted driving

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