POLICY

The Amy Gillett Foundation Research and Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of bicycle and road safety experts from a range of backgrounds and disciplines including engineering, behavioural sciences, public health, policy development, and marketing and communications.

To develop Amy Gillett Foundation policy, the R&P Committee draws on the expertise of its members as well as a review of the Australian and international published literature, the regulatory and legislative environment and best practice on each topic.

Policies are published here as they are ratified by the Board of Directors. Policy may be altered from time to time as influenced by new scientific evidence or a change in the regulatory or legislative environment.

Please find below the list of Amy Gillett Foundation policies.

Safer road users

Bicycle rider education (skills)

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports adequately funded bike rider skills training for all bike riders.

Bike skills training can increase the confidence of new and returning riders and increase the skills for existing bike riders. Training can assist bicycle riders to select appropriate routes and provide skills for dealing with safety issues on particular types of routes. The UK funding levels for bicycle rider training are recommended as a starting point.

Child riding education

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports road safety education and bike skills training for all Australian children.

Teaching young children to ride a bicycle and engage in the road network safely are key components to the approach taken in countries with high cycling participation. In the Netherlands, road safety education begins with children aged 4-5 years of age and is continued throughout primary and secondary school. The Amy Gillett Foundation supports this approach for Australian children through the programs provided by AustCycle.

Bike lights

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports the use of front and rear bicycle lights for all bicycle riders.

The current law states that all bicycle riders must use front and rear bike lights in times of low light or at night. The lights must be visible from 200m and a red reflector must be fitted to the rear of the bicycle. Recent research evidence has also reported an association between day time bike light use and a reduction of injury severity. The Amy Gillett Foundation supports the use of bike lights by bicycle riders at all times to increase bicycle rider visibility to other road users.

Bicycle rider conspicuity

The Amy Gillett Foundation encourages all bicycle riders to increase their conspicuity by wearing light coloured high visibility clothing.

Bicycle riders wearing light coloured or high visibility clothing have been reported to be more visible to other road users, including drivers. Increased visibility has been associated with a reduced likelihood of collision when compared to darker coloured clothing. Older drivers in particular have more difficulty seeing riders who are not wearing high visibility clothing. ‘Biomotion’ reflective clothing may be effective in drawing attention to bicycle riders (i.e. clothing that picks up movements of the legs of bicycle riders, such as ankle reflectors).

Helmets

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports the current Australian legislation for mandatory helmet use by all bicycle riders.

Bicycle helmets protect a bicycle rider’s head in the event of a crash that involves a head strike. Medical and epidemiological evidence has clearly demonstrated that bicycle riders who were wearing a helmet at the time of a crash sustain less severe head injuries than bicycle riders who are not wearing a helmet.

Crash type – bicycle rider-vehicle door (dooring)

The current Amy Gillett Foundation position on dooring is that vehicle occupants are responsible for this collision type and should be penalised appropriately, including a monetary penalty and demerit points. The penalty acts as an important deterrent subject to it being widely promoted.

This crash type occurs when vehicles are parked in parallel bays and drivers and passengers open their door to exit/enter the vehicle and also when a passenger opens their door to exit when a vehicle is stationary in traffic. This crash type can be avoided by vehicle occupants looking for bicycle riders before opening their door. Bicycle riders can minimise the risk of this crash type by riding away from the door zone, checking for vehicle occupants through the rear windscreen and side mirrors and riding within their skill level. Motor vehicle manufacturers should be encouraged to develop warning systems or door locking systems that prevent door opening when a vehicle (including a bicycle) is approaching.

Bicycle registration and licensing

The Amy Gillett Foundation does not support the introduction of a licensing or registration system for bike riders or bikes, in their current forms.

Neither approach provides safety benefits to bike riders nor do they address perceived issues such as the right to cycle and reducing bike rider offences.

The Amy Gillett Foundation position on these two separate issues is below:

Licensing

Bike riders

International feasibility assessments have determined that licensing would act as a significant barrier to cycling.

Distinct from licensing is bike rider skills training. The Amy Gillett Foundation supports the provision of bike rider skills and education for children and adults learning to cycle, such as AustCycle. Skills training programs enhance bike rider skills and confidence, safety and participation – plus the societal, environmental and economic benefits of increased participation.

Adequate and consistent funding from governments in Australia is needed to support bike rider skills and education programs.

Any licensing system would need to be evaluated across a range of parameters, rigorously tested and community consultations held prior to implementation. Considerations of any licensing scheme would need to include, but are not limited to: cost to the individual bike rider, societal costs related to the reduction in cycling participation, licensing of children, existing motoring licensing schemes which differ between jurisdictions and the cost and availability of knowledge and skills testing.

Drivers

The most important changes needed to licensing to improve bike rider safety in Australia are to the driver licence process.

Across Australia, the driver education, training and licence testing process does not include a minimum requirement about sharing the roads with bike riders and the associated road rules. Mandatory driving skills related to interacting with bike riders and cycling infrastructure must be added nationally to train and test drivers about how to safely share the road with bike riders.

Registration 

Registration, as distinct from licensing, refers to the bicycle.

Registration has not been pursued in any other jurisdictions because any perceived benefit is outweighed by the direct administration costs and other adverse society outcomes e.g. lower participation and negative environmental impact.

Motor vehicle registration in Australia is primarily used to fund third party insurance schemes to support people affected by road crashes. The right to use the road, paying for roads and maintenance, and identification and penalty of bike riders are the most common arguments used in support of bike registration. These arguments are largely emotively driven and do not correlate with the purpose of motor vehicle registration as it currently stands in Australia.

Any bike registration process would need to consider the broad range of issues, for example: the age of the owner, the majority of children in Australia own a bicycle, how would they be registered? Multiple bike ownership; cost to the individual rider; cost to implement and maintain the scheme; societal costs of reductions in cycling participation.

Establishing the costs for registration of bicycles would require new and different modelling as traditional costing based on vehicle size and weight would be meaningless.

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports bicycle riders being insured for personal injury and property damage in the event of a bike-related incident. In many jurisdictions in Australia bike riders whose crash does not involve another road user will not be covered by third party insurance e.g. motor vehicle registration; however injuries may be sustained requiring extensive medical and rehabilitative treatment, and bicycle equipment may be damaged.

We support consideration of a scheme that could provide universal insurance for bike riders where they are not compensated by existing insurance arrangements.

More detailed information about licensing and registration for bike riders and bicycles can be read in the AGF’s Submission to the Queensland Inquiry into Cycling.

Everyone deserves to ride in safety for work, sport and play

Cycling cameras

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports bicycle riders video recording their cycling trips.

Video recording an incident between a bicycle rider and another road user provides objective evidence of the event that may be used to more accurately convey the circumstances, especially from the vulnerable user’s perspective. It is possible that video recording of behaviour on the road and holding road users accountable for their action may contribute to changing the culture on our roads.

Safer speeds

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports measures that facilitate safe cycling in urban areas while recognizing the need to maintain the viability of the road transport system. Accordingly, Amy Gillett Foundation recommends, where separated bicycle paths cannot be provided, that safe on-road “pathways” be provided for bicycle travel through:

  • 40 km/h or lower limits in local and collector streets that will not only promote safety, but also liveability, environmental amenity and health and well-being
  • 50 km/h limits on arterial roads where designated bicycle “pathways” are provided, with 40 km/h limits along segments (for example, near schools and along ribbon shopping centres) with high pedestrian and bicycle activity
  • Where it is impractical to provide cycling amenities on arterial roads for reasons of constrained road widths, that the designated bike “pathways” are re-directed along parallel local streets with 40 km/h limits or along separated bike paths

The Amy Gillett Foundation recommends that, at targeted locations, supporting infrastructure measures be introduced to facilitate smooth and safe flow for all traffic using these roads. The beneficiaries of these changes will be all road users and not just bicycle riders.

Safer roads and roadsides

Bike paths on arterial roads

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports bicycle riders riding on arterial roads.

Currently many arterial roads in Australia have poor levels of safety for bicycle riders. Poor safety levels relate to high speeds, inappropriate lane delineation and design. Despite these issues, arterial roads are used by bike riders as they are often the only or best practical route for trips and it would be unrealistic and inappropriate to exclude bicycle use on arterial roads. The Amy Gillett Foundation supports the redesign of all roads, including arterial roads, to improve the safety benefits to bicycle riders and other road users. This includes the importance of speed (see Amy Gillett Foundation policy on Speed).

Bikes and bus lanes

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports permitting bicycle riders to travel in dedicated bus lanes.

All jurisdictions in Australia permit bicycle riders to ride in dedicated bus lanes unless signed, with the exception of Victoria and Western Australia. Austroads guidelines recommend that bicycle riders be permitted in bus lanes as the preferred option to bicycle riders in the adjacent vehicle lane.

Motorbikes in bike lanes

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports the exclusion of motorbike riders (other than permitted electric power assisted pedal bicycles) from all on-road facilities dedicated for bicycle riders.

Currently, on-road bike lanes and bike boxes at intersections are designated for the exclusive use of bicycles. The Amy Gillett Foundation supports this position as it creates a segregated space for bicycle riders and provides separation between bicycle riders and motorised traffic.

Safer vehicles

Bicycle rider/bike detection technology

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports technology that alerts drivers of other road users, in particular to bicycle riders and pedestrians.

Existing vehicle-to-vehicle technology provides advanced warning to drivers of potential road hazards. Current developments aim to expand this technology to include non-occupant road users such as bicycle riders and pedestrians. The Amy Gillett Foundation supports this expansion of the detection technology and the introduction of the technology across the Australian vehicle fleet.

Bike maintenance

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports and encourages regular bike maintenance.

Bicycle mechanical failure can be a contributing factor to bicycle rider crashes and some bicycle mechanical failures can be avoided by regular bicycle maintenance.

Bike trailers

The Amy Gillett Foundation supports the safe use of bicycle trailers and bicycle attachments typically used for conjoined riding with children.

It is important that any bike trailer is visible to other road users through use of a safety flag, bike light and reflectors. All children should wear a fitted bicycle helmet and be physically capable of riding in the bike trailer.

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