New cycling safety measures introduced to make roads safer for cyclists and motorists will roll out across NSW from 1 March

Cyclists aged over 18 in New South Wales are expected to carry photo ID when they’re out riding from March 1 under new laws introduced by the Baird government. The fines for a range of offences are also increasing by up to 600%.

The penalty for not wearing a helmet increases from $71 to $319, along with holding onto a moving vehicle, while riding at night without lights increases from $71 to $106.

A number of other offences jump 500% to $425 – the same penalty for motorists, who also receive 3 demerit points – such as running a red light, not stopping at a pedestrian crossing and riding dangerously.

Minister for Roads Duncan Gay said the new measures aim to put cycling safety at the forefront of all road users minds.

“If these changes are taken as intended, motorists will be mindful of their minimum passing distance requirements and cyclists are more likely to obey the law and avoid high-risk behaviour such as running red lights,” Mr Gay said.

Executive director of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, Bernard Carlon, said in 2014 a total of 1,800 cyclists was admitted to hospital after crashes.

He said that figure had increased over four years.

“We have an upward trend, and we’re trying to address that to improve safety, but also, compliance with the road rules,” Mr Carlon said.

“That’s why those high-risk fines for not wearing a helmet, and running red lights, and riding your bicycle dangerously, have all gone up to the same level as a motor vehicle as well.

“[Bicycles] are a vehicle on a road in the same way that a motorcycle or a car is under the road rules.”

The new laws include restrictions around distance between bicycles and vehicles when passing and increased penalties for cyclists who break road rules.

From 1 March 2016 new safety measures include:

  • Drivers who pass a bicycle rider must allow a distance of at least 1 metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less
  • Drivers who pass a bicycle rider must allow a distance of 1.5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h.
  • If drivers cannot pass a bicycle rider safely, they should slow down and wait until it is safe to pass the rider, leaving the minimum distance.
  • Drivers caught not allowing the minimum distance when passing a bicycle rider could face a $319 fine and the loss of two demerit points.

The new laws also include increased penalties for bicycle riders to prevent them from dangerous behaviour such as running a red light. From 2017 bicycle riders will be required to produce photo identification when stopped by police who suspect they have committed an offence.