Cycling Pointers

September 23, 2013

After your two front teeth, the next thing you want for Christmas is a bicycle. However before you kit up to attack the Cols, sitting off Simon Gerrans’ wheel whilst approaching VO2 max, the long arm of the law is ever present as your tour companion.

It makes sense that road users of all types need to comply with the road rules. Chaos would ensue otherwise. Receiving little attention however are the implications as to cyclists for their indiscretions or ignorance in this arena. Understandably, the law does not require you to be licensed, notify VicRoads of your address, or for you to pay the compulsory TAC insurance in order to ride your bike (touch wood); but disobey a stop sign, then be prepared to say goodbye to the better part of $290.

Have you ever:

  • ridden without a horn or bell?             $ 720 fine.
  • used a mobile phone whilst riding?     $ 1,440 fine.
  • tailgated another vehicle?                   $ 430 fine.
  • ridden on a footpath?                         $ 430 fine.
  • ridden dangerously?                           $ 14,400 or 12 months as Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Having struck gold at the Spring Racing Carnival, you may believe the dent in your bank balance was the end of the matter. Well think again. Reference in the road rules to the acts of driving apply equally to riding in many instances. A school zone is a school zone no matter whether you are driving a hotted up V8 ute or a trusty penny farthing you keep for a leisurely Sunday afternoon. If you are running a little low in the demerit points department, you may wish to catch the bus instead of pulling on the Lycra, as the following conduct on a bike will find it’s not so subtle way to your driver license.

  • Riding at night without required lighting.                                1 demerit point.
  • Illegally overtaking another road user.                                   2 demerit points.
  • Failing to obey a police traffic direction.                                 3 demerit points.
  • Riding through an activated train crossing.                            4 demerit points.
  • Riding through a school zone at 35 km/h in excess.              6 demerit points.

At the end of the day whether you ride for fitness, the love of the sport, as a means of conveniently getting around town, or in a last ditch attempt to save the polar ice caps, as with everything in life, privilege is accompanied by responsibility. Keep your two-wheeled joy in a sound state of repair, wear a helmet, and don’t forget that whilst happily dancing on the pedals (Phil Liggett style) all you need may not just be the air that you breathe. Look after your safety through safe and responsible riding and the demerit points will take care of themselves.

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