I WAS listening to River 949 last week with Marnie and Campo broaching the subject "should cyclists be subject to the same rules as motorists".
The short answer to the ill-informed is, cyclists are subject to the same road rules and penalties as motorists, plus a few more.
The common whinge is the mistaken belief that motor vehicle registration funds road building, with motorists owning the roads and cyclists using roads for free.
Well I'm not going to break this gently. Motor vehicle registration does not fund any part of road building. If you care to break down the elements of motor vehicle registration, you will find that almost half consists of the premium for Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance. The remainder simply funds the motor vehicle registration system of overheads and road maintenance.
Now thinking about road maintenance, just how much road surface degradation or damage to infrastructure such as guard rails do you think would be attributed to bicycles compared to cars?
The second whinge is the mistaken belief that cyclists should be licensed so that they know the road rules. Well, in fact, more than 90% of cyclists are licensed drivers. Strangely, the sight of a cyclist disobeying a road rule, such as going through a red light seems to spark more irrational emotion than many thousands of other road users breaking road rules.
However, I do believe that there is a need for some kind of compulsory rider training for those who don't hold a current driver's licence. I also suggest that all Queensland cyclists should have Bicycle Queensland membership, which provides personal accident, third party property and public liability insurance.
If revenue could be raised by licensing riders and registering bikes, don't you think governments around the world would have introduced it years ago?
If you think about it logically you will conclude that it would be a costly, administrative nightmare for any department to introduce and manage, without any worthwhile outcome.
The third whinge is that cyclists hold up traffic. Ask yourself - how is having to back off for a matter of seconds for a cyclist being held up, while sitting stationary for several minutes in traffic as far as the eye can see not being held up?
It is a well-documented fact that if more people leave their cars at home and cycle to work the less traffic congestion. Also, the health benefits resulting from as little as 10% more people cycling would save an estimated $400 million a year in healthcare costs.
Finally, for those who don't understand Lycra, it's all about comfort. The difference between Lycra and ordinary clothing is like the difference between a modern car with comfortable seats and air-conditioning, and an old car with vinyl seats and no air-conditioning.
ROD JAMES, East Ipswich
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