Some safety wins in new Victorian cycling laws
Changes in Victorian cycling laws from July 1 include:
- Cyclists will be allowed to cycle in bus lanes (see below for details)
Our response: We commend the changes to allow cyclists to cycle in bus lanes, but stress the importance of being vigilant to observe the movements of buses.
- Unused bike carriers no-longer need to be removed from cars
Our response: Great news.
- Drivers must give way to bikes in a similar way to pedestrians at bike lantern traffic lights
Our response: Even greater news!
- On-the-spot fines for hand-held phone use whilst cycling (see below for details)
Our response: Consistent with promoting a safer road environment for all road users, we remain committed to distraction-free operation of all vehicles on our roads at all times. Specifically in relation to mobile phones and the law amendment, like motorists, cyclists must not use their phone unless the phone is secured in a hands-free handlebar mount or pocket.
Safety is the absolute consideration.
However, we are concerned to ensure that, first and foremost, enforcement efforts are focused on those with the greatest capacity for harm from distraction, namely motorists in cars.
We remain committed to pursuing the introduction of cycling safety measures and other laws that will have a real impact on the safety of cyclists on Victorian roads, such as a metre matters laws and proper enforcement of existing laws that protect cyclists as the most vulnerable road users.
Cyclists are legitimate road users and must comply with road laws. However, experience with enforcement of cycling laws in other states, such as NSW, has demonstrated that cyclists can be an easy target for enforcement agencies, and we don’t want this to lead to increased tension between cyclists and motorists with little safety benefit.
This remains of real concern for us.
We hope that enforcement efforts targetting distracted road users focus on those with the capacity for the greatest harm, such as motorists.
The details, sourced from Vicroads
> Bike riders in bus lanes
From 1 July 2017 cyclists can ride in a bus lane unless otherwise signed.
Safety tips for bike riding in bus lanes:
- Keep to the left of the bus lane
- Give way to buses at all times
- Wait behind the bus if it is coming to a stop and do not overtake or undertake it
- Be alert at bus stops and watch out for passengers getting in and out of buses, stop behind the bus until it has moved off.
- Be alert to other road users entering the bus lane, eg at an intersection or to turn off the road
- Before changing lanes and turning, always scan behind and signal your intentions to other road users.
- If there is a bike lane beside the bus lane, a bike rider must use the bike lane.
- Using a hook turn can be a safer way to turn right.
- Take extra care when cycling at night. Wear bright or light coloured clothing and reflective strips, use front and rear bike lights.
- Wearing bright or light coloured clothing and flashing lights during daylight can improve your visibility by other road users
> Mobile phone use by a rider of a bike
Using a mobile phone is prohibited, except to make or receive a phone call or to use its audio/music functions provided the phone:
- is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the bicycle, or
- can be operated by the rider without touching any part of the phone, and the phone is not resting on any part of the riders’ body but can be in a pocket.
Using a phone as a navigational device/GPS while riding is prohibited unless it is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the bicycle. All other functions (including video calls, texting and emailing) are prohibited.
The penalty is a fine of $476. Demerit points do not apply.