Bicycle Network: "Riders, wear your helmet. And BNSW, you suck"

Bicycle Network's draws battle lines and sets out "policy for hire" shingle:

NSW road rules


Uproar over police blitz

1 July 2015. A police action aimed at improving bike and pedestrian safety in the Sydney CBD and surrounding areas has turned sour after bike riders claimed they were being unfairly targeted.

Operation Pedro involved officers from the Traffic and Highway Patrol, along with Surry Hills, Sydney City, Redfern, Leichhardt, Newtown, and Harbourside Local Area Commands.

Running for just one day, more than 664 infringement notices were issued to bike riders, pedestrians and motorists.

Police claimed their focus would be on non-compliance by cyclists for helmet use, negligent or aggressive riding and disregard for road rules. They wanted to deter poor behaviour, they said.

But for cyclists, the major aggressor in their world is currently the NSW government, as it rips up agreements on bikeway developments, disregards undertakings and commitments, and behaves with obvious contempt towards the right of those who chose healthy, active travel.

Sydney riders are justly feeling set-upon as the State government blunders blindly ahead with plans to remove key bike infrastructure while it backtracks on plans for new lanes in other parts of the city.

During the operation:

  • 202 traffic infringement notices issued to motorists, with nine charges being laid
  • 11 pedestrians were issued infringement notices, with 34 cautions/warnings
  • 72 cyclists were caught disobeying traffic control lights
  • 54 cyclists were riding on the footpath
  • 57 cyclists were issued infringements for other offences
  • 234 cyclists were not wearing a helmet

The figure on helmet infringements is alarming, and police are fully justified to be concerned at this level of non-compliance.

In a perfect world no bike rider would fall off their bike and there’d be no need for helmets. Unfortunately, our world is a long way from perfect. A 2013 study in NSW shows that helmet wearing significantly reduced the risk of moderate, serious and severe head injury by up to 74%. So wearing a helmet sounds like a no brainer.

Yes, we know there are some groups that disagree, but we just love bike riders too much to recommend they don’t protect their valuable heads.

Helmets are a proven injury prevention tool in Australia and Bicycle Network actively supports efforts around the nation to normalise helmet use, and backs police in their use of warnings and infringement notices.

So why is compliance so bad in Sydney?

One reason could be that beleaguered cycling organisation, Bicycle NSW, has been wishy-washy on helmet policy. In 2013 Bicycle NSW moved to get the helmet rules watered down:

  • "Bicycle NSW recommends that a review is held to determine the net benefit of the mandatory helmet laws in Part 15 (Additional rules for bicycle riders) of the Australian Road Rules. If no significant benefit is found, Bicycle NSW recommends that the law is revoked if not entirely, then at least for adult bicycle users.
  • Bicycle NSW recommends that riders using bikeshare bicycles be exempt from the mandatory helmet laws in Part 15 (Additional rules for bicycle riders) of the Australian Road Rules.”

Bicycle Network rejects this approach and is determined to see bike rider trauma reduced in NSW and we strongly encourage all bike riders to comply with helmet rules.

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We should see a big drop in the national road toll now that cyclists are been booked for riding on the footpath

Yeah thats another idiotic thing about operation pedro. Booking riders for an offence that isn't an offence in half the country. What a waste of police resources. 


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