From the Courier Mail
9000 bike riders fined for breaking road rules
Hannah Martin, March 30, 2008
ABOUT 9000 cyclists were fined last year for breaking road rules, but Queensland Transport has dismissed calls to license riders. More than 680 cyclists were injured so severely in accidents last year they were taken to hospital emergency departments.
More than 100 people were taken to hospital after being hit by cyclists, Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit research shows.
Almost 59,000 Queensland cyclists have been fined for breaking road rules since 2003, but a Queensland Transport spokesman said a licensing system would be too costly and would not stop injuries or rule-breaking. "This would impose very significant additional costs on the community and government, and the benefits would be negligible," he said.
Calls for bicycle licences come as the Victorian Government vows to get tough on rogue cyclists who cause death or serious injury to others.
Proposed new laws mean cyclists could face penalties, including jail, similar to those given to drivers guilty of culpable driving.
Brisbane Mater Children's Hospital emergency pediatrician Dr Ruth Barker, from the injury surveillance unit, said she expected bike-related injuries to increase as more people commuted on bikes. Head, upper limb and collarbone injuries were most common.
Dr Barker said shared pathways or roads were often a problem and speed contributed to many bike accidents.
"Children particularly are very prone to meandering along paths, not sticking to one side, making it hard for cyclists to avoid them."
Near-collisions around Brisbane are common, according to cyclists and pedestrians on city and suburban shared bike/pathways, including the riverfront along Coronation Drive, Milton. Billy Witana, 46, rides to work in Northgate from his home in Algester each day.
"Sometimes (pedestrians) get in a bit of a daze and stray out in front of you," Mr Witana said.
But riding on the shared paths was probably safer than the roads, he said. The only way to make shared paths safer for everyone was to get rid of the bikes.
"They should make a designated bike path on the roads.
"Even though I bike, I wouldn't like to be running along here with all of the bikes that come racing past."
Business analyst Nicole Remedios, 34 walks to work along the footpath between Toowong and Milton and said some bike riders could get "aggro" when pedestrians spread across the path.
"Sometimes if people are walking in a row of three, bike riders will scream at you to stand to the left," she said.
Richard Cordes, 48, a recreational bike rider who lives in Annerley, said it was up to cyclists to take more care on shared paths.
"Pedestrians are being approached from behind so it's not their fault," he said.
"We (bike riders) need to be a little bit more considerate and ring our bells when we're approaching people.
"Speed is an issue as well; not enough bikes slow down enough when they pass pedestrians."
Dr Barker said cyclists also needed to be more respectful of road rules, including properly stopping at traffic lights– even if it meant the inconvenience of taking special clip-in bike shoes off the peddles.
She said the number of people who still didn't wear helmets was alarming.
"From working in the emergency department the people you see not wearing them are the young adolescents," she said.
"Once they hit about 13 or 14 they seem to think they're invincible and it's not cool (to wear their helmet)."