Cyclists Protest In Sydney Over 'Nonsense' Bicycle Law Changes

29/01/2016 9:45 AM AEDT | Updated January 29, 2016 14:03
Andrew Watson via Getty Images

Scores of fired-up cyclists have rolled through Sydney's CBD to protest against new NSW Government rules and penalties for bike riders including fines of more than $300 for not wearing a helmet.

The rally on wheels, underway Friday morning, is part of a campaign by NSW cyclists against the new regulations that take effect in March. It follows a similar protest earlier this month.

The new requirements for cyclists include having to carry photo ID and boosted fines, ranging up to $319 for not wearing a helmet, up to $425 for running a red light, and up to $319 for holding onto a moving vehicle.

The full details can be viewed here.

The organiser of the rally, Critical Mass, hit out at the government on Facebook.

"The increase in fines and anti cycling rhetoric is deplorable," it said.

"Whilst the rest of the progressive world embraces cycling as a viable mode of transport, the NSW Government and in particular, the Roads Minister are doing their best to turn people away.

"It's nonsense. If you ride a bike for fun, utility or competitively you know it ... and these new laws punish the rider harder than the drivers."

Pro-cyclist lobby group Sydney Push spokesman Rob Berry has previously told Fairfax Media that the measures are aimed at discouraging Sydneysiders from cycling.

An online petition against the bike helmet penalty increases has so far gained more than 4,500 supporters.

The government says the new rules are needed to improve safety for cyclists, with an average 11 bicycle riders killed and 1500 seriously injured in NSW each year.

The reforms also impose obligations on drivers. They mean motor vehicles that pass a bicycle rider must allow a distance of at least 1 metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less, and 1.5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h.

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