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Cycling Safety Action Plan Recognises the Rights and Responsibilities of Bicycle Riders

Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay has released the Cycling Safety Action Plan as part of the Governments integrated strategy to reduce annual road deaths and serious injuries by at least 30 per cent by 2021.

The Cycling Safety Action Plan compliments the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan recognizing a range of improvements are required to improve interactions between vulnerable road users and motorists.

The vision is “to make cycling a safe and positive activity in NSW” which is an exciting commitment for the growing number of cyclists. More people are cycling across NSW with a 50% increase in the number of people riding to work and leisure cycling also increasing in popularity. The increase in rider numbers is recognized in Sydney Cycling Futures released December 2013 and the development of major infrastructure improvement to ensure safer cycling across the city.

Minister Gay is delighted to release the Plan saying, “This is additional to the $33 million dollars the NSW Government is spending this financial year on cycling paths and infrastructure. It will deliver a range of actions for bicycle riders and motorists to improve understanding and compliance with the road rules, raise awareness about the importance of safe road interactions, improve bicycle safety skills and engagement between the government and bicycle user groups. It’s all about fostering safer road user interactions and we’ve worked with key stakeholders right across the road community to develop these plans, including the NSW Police Force, Bicycle NSW, the Amy Gillett Foundation, the Pedestrian Council of Australia, NRMA Motoring and Services and Local Government NSW.

A significant change for all road users is the introduction of the new 40km/h speed limit for motorists in the Hay, Kent, Pitt and Castlereagh streets. While a reduction in speed is a proven way to improve safety many are encouraging a further reduction to 30km/h with only 10% fatality risk (5-10% lower than 40km/h). The speed limit and the cyclist identification are two areas Bicycle NSW will explore further and seek clarification on the priorities.

President of the Bicycle NSW Board, Jon Leighton welcomes the Plan and ongoing involvement by Bicycle NSW. “As the peak body for recreational cycling in NSW we recognize the need for significant improvements to develop mutual respect for all road users. With the Government commitment to increase cycling as a mode of transport and leisure activity, improved safety has to be at the forefront of the strategy.”

The three-year plan addresses cycling safety and ensures a safe transition to increased participation. Education is a significant part of the plan including information for bike riders to increase their safety, road positioning and visibility. Education for motorists includes a review of bicycle related road rules and enhancing the NSW drivers knowledge test questions relating to cycling.

“Improved awareness of bike riders will improve safety, and starts with increased awareness that the road is there to share. Improving the quality and quantity of questions relating to bicycles in the NSW drivers knowledge tests will create knowledge and help improve attitudes and respect. All roads users – motorists, bike riders and pedestrians must know the rules and follow the rules. The Plan has an excellent balance between the responsibilities for bicycle riders and motorists. The strategies include safer riding behaviours and safer driving behaviours through communication and promotion, and improving rider skills and awareness by all user groups. A commitment to better road environment design and the use of visibility devices will all improve safety for bicycle riders and motorists”, says Jon Leighton.

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