Peter Thomson.  Photo Scott Powick / Tweed Daily News
Peter Thomson. Photo Scott Powick / Tweed Daily News Scott Powick

Tough new fines for cyclists and drivers

THE state government has announced a range of new rules and fines on cyclists in a bid to improve road safety.

The changes include a new law where drivers must allow at least a one metre distance when passing bicycle riders.

It will also be compulsory for adult cyclists to carry photo identification in the event of an emergency or they break road rules.

Penalties for bicycle riders have increased across the board up to a maximum $425.

Under the changes, which will come in to effect in March next year, not wearing a helmet while riding will incur a fine of $319.

Grafton City Cycles co-owner Nathan Beard welcomed the changes to the minimum safe distance when passing cyclists and the compulsory identification.

"You don't realise how dangerous it is when a car goes past at 100kmh," he said. "The metre rule is definitely a good thing.

"I think compulsory ID is a good thing, if anything happens on the road it means we can be identified."

Mr Beard conceded that the rule changes probably won't have much impact on professional riders, but rather on recreational riders and the fines could see fewer people riding bicycles.

"I don't mind increasing them, if that means people will do the right thing, but they seem a bit full on," he said.

"I'm all for making cyclists aware of the penalties, and if everyone is aware it should make people think twice about breaking the rules.

"I just hope everyone can use the road together and be safe."

Roads Minister Duncan Gay said the changes were to promote the safety of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

"I maintain that all road users need to exercise respect when using the road," he said.

"The changes we're making are about striking a balance for everyone on the roads and footpaths."

However NSW Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi called the changes an attack on cyclists.

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