Currenty only those under 12 years of age are legally allowed on NSW pathways. Bicycle NSW has launched a petition to enable young and risk averse riders to continue riding on footpaths. While the aim is more for improved rider health and safety bike stores also stand to benefit from this action See more from BNSW below, and also a link to their petition.
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bike Riding in NSW is in Crisis Bicycle riding in NSW is in crisis. Currently only 12.5% of the NSW population ride a bike once per week – the lowest in Australia. With the National average sitting at 15.5% and the ACT with the highest at 46.5%, NSW is falling behind.
Disturbingly in the past few weeks, there has been a number of bicycle rider deaths and serious injuries on NSW roads. In addition a high number of Bicycle NSW Members have reported their near passes on the road which could have caused further serious injury or death.
Bicycle NSW has decided to act. “There needs to be a change in the current cycling environment in NSW. Children are being forced to ride on the road at the age of 12. Adults who are re-discovering bike riding are being left with no option but to battle the roads. This is not an environment that encourages bike riding.
Bicycle NSW has and always will advocate to create a better environment for cycling.” “Today, I proudly announce that we are supporting footpath riding for all ages in NSW.” Stated Craig Meagher, Bicycle NSW CEO, “We are thankful to local, state and federal governments for the work they have already achieved for bike riding in NSW but now we are calling for more action.” As the law currently stands, footpath riding is illegal for the majority of bike riders. Only children under 12, and those supervising are legally, along with medical exemptions, able to ride on footpaths. When a child turns 12 in NSW they are forced to make the transition from riding on the footpath to riding on a road. At this age, children do not have the cognitive ability to ride on the road and mix with other vehicles safely. Unfortunately, making this transition often sees children turn away from bike riding as they no longer see it as a safe option for recreation, transport or fun.
Bicycle NSW wants to create an environment that encourages children to stay active for longer, to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing. As a form of active transport, bike riding increases a cyclist’s overall physical and mental wellbeing. With obesity increasing in Australia, we should be supporting more ways to improve the health of Australians. Bike riding is a great form of exercise that sees people commute to work.
Ultimately, easing the strain on roads and public transport - a benefit for riders and the environment. Unfortunately, the road can be an intimidating place for inexperienced riders, seniors and women. Providing a safe zone for these riders will encourage them to ride more and further, improving their health. Where segregated cycleways are not provided, having the footpath that they can safely share with pedestrians should be a viable option.
Bicycle NSW understands there will need to be a transition period alongside an awareness campaign. Bike riders will need to cycle on footpaths with respect for all those around them. They will need to be conscious and courteous to pedestrians and be aware of obstacles in their environment such as animals, uneven paths and rubbish bins.
Why does Bicycle NSW support riding on footpaths in NSW?
It will encourage children to ride and continue to ride after they turn 12.
It will encourage riding for the less confident who don’t wish to ride on the road.
It will provide an option for riders who experience difficulty in sections of their ride.
Tourists will be encouraged to enjoy NSW by bike.
More people will be encouraged to use bike shares for shorter trips therefore there will be less people on public transport in busy areas.
Increasing bike riding numbers in NSW by enabling cyclists to ride on footpaths is one of the many ways we can encourage an active future.
You can support Bicycle NSW advocating for footpath riding by signing our petition here.
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