The Amy Gillett Foundation does not support the introduction of licensing for cyclists or a registration system for bicycles because they do not improve cyclist safety nor do they contribute in a positive way to attitudes about cycling and cyclists.
1. Creates another barrier to encourage more people to get on bicycles
Both licensing and registration have been rejected internationally as they offer no direct safety outcome for cyclists or other road users. Reasons for not supporting such schemes include:
- expensive to implement, administer and monitor
- addition cost to everyone who owns or rides a bicycle
- additional cost and barrier to visitors/tourists getting about on a bike
- most children in Australia own a bicycle – at what age would a cost be imposed to ride or own a bicycle?
2. Misconception that registration pays for the roads
Roads are paid for by everyone through general taxation like PAYE and GST. State & Territory registration covers insurance and administration fees only.
Actions for a safer cycling environment
To provide for a safer cycling environment on our road networks, the Foundation sees four areas to create a safer cycling environment.
1. A metre matters legislation
The current wording in the road rules need to be changed from ‘sufficient distance’ to:
- 1m in speed zones up to and including 60km/h
- 1.5m in speed zones over 60km/h
This will help to reduce crashes between motor vehicles and cyclists.
Skills training programs, such as AustCycle, enhance bicycle handling skills, build confidence and encourage participation for children and adults learning to cycle.
The societal, environmental and economic benefits of increased participation are significant through reduced traffic congestion and pollution in addition to a more active and mobile community when more trips are made by bicycle.
Adequate and consistent funding from governments in Australia is needed to support cyclist skills and education programs.
3. Licensing – drivers
The most important licensing changes needed to improve cyclist safety are to driver licensing. Across Australia, the driver education, training and licence testing process does not include a minimum requirement about sharing the roads with cyclists and the associated road rules. Mandatory driving skills related to interacting with cyclists and cycling infrastructure must be added nationally to train and test drivers about how to safely share the road with cyclists.
The Amy Gillett Foundation supports cyclists being insured for personal injury and property damage in the event of a crash.
In many Australian jurisdictions, cyclists whose crash does not involve another road user will not be covered by third party insurance under their current 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 cyclists where they are not compensated by existing insurance arrangements.