Bike riders should be held more accountable for carnage they cause
Bike riders should be held more accountable for carnage they cause

Ban cyclists from busy roads, make them pay rego

Cyclists should pay a fee to be registered and licensed and be banished from footpaths and arterial roads because they are a danger to themselves and pedestrians.

The massive pandemic-led surge in cyclists on our roads has sparked fresh calls for bike riders to be more accountable. It may well signal the end of the MAMIL (middle aged men in lycra). Many are saying enough is enough.

If it's good enough for those getting around on motorised scooters to be registered - they too don't lack anything in the aggression stakes - cyclists should now be subject to the same laws as vehicle users.

If a cyclist can be charged with being drunk on our roads, why are they not subjected to the same stringent rules that apply to motorists? Some may suggest registering and licensing cyclists and banning them from main roads is going overboard. But this is deadly serious.

Peter Gleeson says it’s time cyclists were subject to the same laws as vehicle users. Picture: Stewart Allen
Peter Gleeson says it’s time cyclists were subject to the same laws as vehicle users. Picture: Stewart Allen

They are a menace to themselves and others. In 2018, 82,000 people signed a petition to stop cyclists being able to ride two abreast. It follows legislation in NSW which now requires motorists to leave a minimum gap of one metre when passing a cyclist when the speed limit is below 60 km/h. Loss of demerit points and fines apply to motorists who do not adhere to the law, angering some car bodies.

But what of the rights of pedestrians and motorists? Take the example last year of a 93-year old man who was fatally struck by a cyclist while out walking. Charlie Embrey was struck by a cyclist as he walked near his home in Burpengary, on Brisbane's northside.

The cyclist was a man, 43, who was not injured. Police said they collided when travelling in opposite direction near Reynolds Court. Surveys conducted by Victoria Walks - which represents walkers - show 40 per cent of the elderly say they don't go on footpaths because of cyclists.

"In crashes between pedestrians and cyclists the most serious injuries are sustained by the pedestrian because of secondary impacts such as a head hitting the ground,'' a Victoria Walks report said.

In the 12 months to June last year, 48 cyclists died on Australian roads, up from 34 in the corresponding year, with fatalities doubling in the past three years. Queensland is a wonderful state for cycling, and there has been a big spike in bikes being purchased and used during the pandemic, sparking suggestions Brisbane was in its biggest cycling renaissance since the 1970s.

Contributing to the popularity boom is the way in which councils have spent tens of millions of dollars on new and improved cycleways, aimed at getting bike riders off the roads they share with vehicles. A joint state and council committee has been established to focus on cycle safety after a spate of bike deaths in recent years.

The Active Transport Advisory Committee has been meeting regularly for seven months, and the main concern appears to be regulation of heavy vehicles. But the reality is that heavy vehicles will never be banned from using roads because the transportation of groceries and goods in this decentralised country of ours is vital.

So where does that leave cyclists, many of whom are playing Russian roulette on the roads with cars each day? It's simple. They need to be banned from major roads. For their own protection, as much as the motorists who are faced each day with dodging them.

Major thoroughfares such as Gympie Road, Wynnum Road, Ipswich Road and Abbotsford Road are death traps for cyclists. Motorists are now funding cycleways through rego taxes. Councils are pandering to these cyclists by annexing sections of roads, causing even more congestion for car and truck users.

We need to stop the cyclist carnage on the roads. The best way to do that is banish them from busy roads altogether and introduce laws where they must stick to the cycleways.

Originally published as Ban cyclists from busy roads, make them pay rego