I don't get the Advertiser for so many reasons however I could not avoid having a look at an article when I saw the paper whilst waiting for an appointment.
I found it online which I thought was unusual as it is subscription based, I have clipped a couple of paragraphs below as it was a long article.
Miles Kemp, The Advertiser, January 10. 2018
"SA Police figures show cyclists are on target to contribute $1.25 million in fines to State Government coffers this financial year, up from $514,199 in 2014/15.
Officers are also on track to pull over 8308 riders this financial year, up from 6654 in 2014/15, before new cycling safety laws were introduced."
This is the bit that interested me
"However police are only on target to stop 24 motorists for breaching the overtaking rules this financial year. Most of those caught breaking the rule are being cautioned, not fined."
and later in the article
"In 2016/17, 41 drivers were pulled over, with ten of those fined, and in 2015/16, 31 pulled over and 12 fined."
Obviously cyclists should not be breaking the road laws. I'd like to think that they are being fined for meaningful breaches and not petty misdeeds. Obeying the law avoids fines and improves relations with motorists.
My issue is with the minimal attention to close passing by motorists. I know it is hard to prosecute on one party's word versus the other's, and I know video evidence does not seem to count for much.
It seems to me that a pass is deemed ok if the vehicle gets past without contact, i.e. there is no blood splash or viscera on the camera, no car shaped dents in the cyclist or cyclist shaped dents in the car.
The one metre space at 60kph and 1.5 metre at above 620 kph seems to be optional and luckily most drivers seem capable of observing it.
For those people who can't drive, I'd like to think that technology may help in the future. Perhaps roadside cameras in cyclist hotspots could be set up to measure passing distance.
Undercover police on bikes with cameras would be really effective but I imagine WHS guidelines would prevent dangerous activities like riding bikes on roads.
On the comments over there someone was talking about the Cycliq Fly12 forward facing camera being able to draw lines on the video showing where 1m was either side of the bike. Seems like a neat feature. They call them "tramlines". They seem to be an add on that happens during the editing though not during the filming. I think the author of those comments said they had got police to act on them. I can't find online any suggestion that the rear Fly6 camera does the same.
Interesting Michael. I've often thought that a device like a laser which points a one metre distance off the rider onto the road could be useful. I'm convinced that some drivers just have no idea what a metre looks like and they are unaware how close they are passing.
The attitude of police vs cyclists doesn't surprise me. The other day a patrol stopped me in Pooraka, thinking my shade cover on my helmet was just a sun hat. You could feel their excitement at netting a naughty cyclist drain away as I showed them the AS approved helmet underneath. As it was Christmas time I bade them a merry one and rode on my way.
Yes, I imagine most of the fines imposed on cyclists were for not wearing a helmet. I spent a large part of my life riding without one but I don't think I could now. It would be like driving without a seat belt for me.
If the fines were for safety issues like helmets, lights and dangerous riding, then fair enough. I was bloody angry with a cyclist riding the wrong way down a bike lane recently, forcing me into the traffic to avoid him. I just hope there were not too many levied for not having a bell. I know it is a legal requirement but I feel that voice can be polite or urgent as required.
It's slightly old data, but an article a few months ago showed the most fines were for no helmet (2098), followed by no front or no rear lights at night (1038 combined), with all other combined only a few hundred.
While I support MHL (at least on roads), it's unfortunately the case that riding without a helmet is an easy target and it's certainly over-represented. e.g. running red lights is more common among cyclists than it should be, and it's not on the list at all (unless it's under "other cycling offences").
p.s. I did once (30+ years ago) get a warning for no bell. So I put one on. No point making life difficult for myself. And now I actually use it a fair bit, because I'm fortunate to have a lot of shared paths on my commute.
Thanks for the article Peter. I agree about cyclists running red lights, it is common and apart from the safety aspect, it really angers motorists.
Interesting detail in the article. What I see is that it is easy to avoid the vast majority of fines by wearing a helmet and using appropriate lights. Seeing people ride bikes at night without lights really makes me annoyed both as a cyclist and a motorist. I often ride into the city at dusk. The number of people who would appear to commute daily, who have invested many hundreds or thousands of dollars in a nice bike but can't be bothered spending $30.00 on a budget lighting set amazes me.
I'm reassured by the list in the article. It would appear that if you have a helmet, lights at night, obey standard road rules and ride slowly and carefully in areas shared with pedestrians, then you should escape police attention.
Yep, It is good to see that the majority of fines are for our own safety - that is why Australia is the safest place in the world to ride a bicycle. If we can just increase the fines more and get less people to ride then it will be even safer.
Forgive me my sarcasm.
BTW as an interesting aside in the realm of risk compensation and risk assessment... when you say riding without a helmet would feel like driving without a seat belt - ie naked and vulnerable. I was cycling in a country without helmet laws at night on a wet slippery road with lots of traffic - I didn't have a helmet and wished I had one as I felt very vulnerable - then I took a step back and reasoned I was being disingenuous. A helmet would not make me safe but provide me with the illusion of safety, much more sensible that I should modify my behaviour and ride to the conditions rather than try to mask reality. Being hit by a motor vehicle with or without a helmet would be a disaster and I should be feeling very vulnerable as I was.
Not quite sure about your sarcasm Carlos. When I saw the article, I was annoyed that so few car drivers were fined for close passing which is very threatening to cyclists. However on looking at the fines levied against cyclists in the break down provided by Peter, I would consider that they are mostly for the safety of the cyclist. If you are referring to modifying motorists' behaviour to make them drive in a way that protects vulnerable road users as required by law, then we are in complete agreement.
People have their own views about MHL and I have zero interest in that debate except to acknowledge that a helmet is not going to save you in an encounter with a car but I'd rather have one than not have one in any crash.
I'm astonished by the number of Australian cyclists who fail to see that MHLs have a terrible impact on cycling in this country.
My sarcasm was - the majority of fines are for not wearing a helmet, MHLs are promoted as being the cornerstone of cycling safety in Australia. Most countries do not have MHLS. Thus by extrapolation cycling in Australia must be safer than all those countries without MHLs - but it isn't, far from it, cycling in Australia has a bad safety record and the Australian cycling injury statistics seem to be getting worse.
I see what you are saying. I don't have a problem with MHL myself but as you point out, it is the 1.5 tonne steel things which do the greatest damage. Obviously MHL won't address incompetent driving.
I was standing in a car park the other day and was gob smacked to see cars turning left at an intersection where a woman wanted to cross the slip lane with a pram to get to the pedestrian crossing. She was smart enough to distrust the capacity of drivers to show respect for her, the baby and the law and I counted seven cars drive illegally through before one stopped to give way as required.
Carlos, "ride to the conditions" may mean something entirely different to you than it does to people in countries without MHL. Having lived in several EU cities and visited many more, I've seen cyclists without helmets, but holding an umbrella in one hand (in gusts of wind) and a phone in another, going over open tram tracks, potholes, dodging pedestrians, cars etc.
Simpson, where do you go for a lux bell that's $30? We had two bike bells break in as many days (overuse on shared bikeways I believe) and spent $19.90 replacing both. But even on those shared paths a polite but urgent voice is sometimes required (and sometimes a less polite voice, like when someone stands in the middle of the path to feed pidgeons and 3 of them fly into your face). With the increase of headphones, and people who urgently need to get a hearing aid, a bell sometimes just isn't enough.
As for MHL, I just see it as part of the gear. Yes, going into the city for shopping etc. could do without, and on long distance/high intensity they get a bit warm in this weather (surprised to read Jilden had a cap over his helmet).