NSW ringing out on close passes

A NSW Police freedom of information request has revealed that you’re more likely to be fined for not having a bell on your bike than you are for a close pass in a car.

The FOI request revealed that in the first year after minimum passing distance law was introduced in NSW, there were only 33 fines given to drivers for a close pass.

This is compared to the 8,586 fines issued to  people who ride bikes for a range of offences. This included 463 fines for people riding without a bell.

The same request also revealed that since 2016, fines for minimum passing distance breaches have fallen from 33 to 28 in the last 12 months.

There were 65 close pass fines issued from March 2016 to May 2018, with 43 fines across all of Sydney, seven on the North Coast, six in the Hunter Valley, two on the Central Coast, four on the South Coast, three in regional NSW, and none in Wollongong.

At the time the laws were introduced, Bicycle Network raised concerns about a clear crackdown on bike riders in response. 

A growing number of bike riders and Bicycle Network members continue to raise concerns about the regularity of close passes from vehicles.

Out of frustration around a lack of enforcement, Dulwich Hill Bicycle club member David Maywald started a petition against the NSW Government which is quickly gaining traction.

Mr Maywald told the Sydney Morning Herald, that cyclists have had to take enforcement into their own hands.

“The burden of evidence and prosecution has fallen onto the victims of dangerous close passes," Mr Maywald said.

Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards believes that more must be done to protect people who ride. 

“Minimum passing distance law is one of the only things that the NSW Government has done to make bike riding more comfortable and yet they won’t enforce it,” Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said.

“We are calling on NSW Police to enforce minimum passing distance and dangerous driving laws, on all occasions – not just during special operations.”

Bicycle Network is currently campaigning to see the introduction and enforcement of minimum passing distance legislation in Victoria.

Sign the petition