The NSW Government has recently introduced some legislative changes. The compulsory carrying of ID for bike riders is one of those rules and one that Pedal Power ACT is strongly opposed to its introduction.
Part of those changes included the rule that sets mandatory passing distances when a motor vehicle passes a bicycle. The ACT is currently trialling that rule and the introduction of this in NSW provides a consistency that makes sense and should improve safety for people on bikes. Pedal Power ACT agrees and supports such a change.
However Pedal Power ACT opposes the proposal that would require people aged 18 and over to carry a driver licence or a NSW Photo Card and to produce it to a police officer if the officer believes the person has broken the road rules. Pedal Power ACT opposes such a rule because, not only is there is no demonstrated safety benefit – thereby making such a rule an ineffective strategy, but current legislation seems perfectly adequate.
The necessity to provide details to a Police Officer in the ACT are the same as that of NSW. You have to give the police your name and address on request, and show your licence, if you have one. If you refuse to disclose your identity or show your licence, or to give false or misleading details it is an offence (see Road Transport Act 2013 s.175, maximum penalty $2200).
In the case of a collision involving a bicycle, nothing will change. A rider or driver is only obligated to provide their name and address (and the vehicle owner’s name and address) to the opposite party. Only Police or Authorised Officers can demand that a Drivers Licence be produced. The introduction of the photo ID for bike riders does not change the capacity for any other individual to demand to see their licence or ID.
As Ray Rice – CEO of Bicycle NSW said “The recent proposal that NSW bicycle riders should compulsorily carry Photo ID is a classic example of trying to use legislation to solve a problem where none exists. It is bad public policy.”
To justify a requirement to carry ID, the government says ‘This will help riders be identified in an emergency.’ Yet it has provided no evidence that any of the people 11 killed or the 1500 injured while cycling in NSW each year could not be identified. Nor has it cited any other jurisdiction in Australia or overseas that has found a similar requirement has helped identify road casualties.
If NSW really does believe this rule is necessary to ‘ensure that everyone stays safe’, it would require everyone who uses NSW roads to carry photo ID: people who drive, those who are passengers, and those who walk across roads. As to the requirement to produce the ID to a police officer, the government has not really explained why this rule is necessary or why existing legislation is not good enough.
During the Government’s committee process there was no hard evidence presented that Police have issues identifying riders who may have committed an offence. Police already have the power to request a name and address, and are pretty savvy in recognising false information. In the absence of any hard evidence that Police have problems in identifying people cycling, Pedal Power ACT opposes this proposal. We believe that the NSW government would be far better spending time and resources on more important bicycle safety issues such as making people who drive motor vehicles more aware of people who are cycling and of cycling’s benefits in improving health and reducing congestion. Better still, just fund cycling infrastructure that makes cycling convenient and safer.
While these changes would directly affect the 476 Pedal Power ACT members that live in NSW, it will have an even more adverse effect on Canberrans who do not have drivers licence and who cycle in NSW. Many members cross the border in a regular recreational ride, cycle in the Canberra region and travel to charity bike rides in Sydney and in country NSW.
Bicycle riders in NSW will become the only group required to carry Photo ID while carrying out a perfectly legal activity in a public space. It does nothing to promote bicycle riding. It does nothing to promote safety for bicycle riders.
If you disagree with the photo ID proposal tell the NSW Government. Send your message to:
Roads Minister Duncan Gay https://www.nsw.gov.au/contact-minister-roads-freight
regional development Minister and member for Monaro John Barilaro : https://www.nsw.gov.au/ministercontactform/minister-barilaro
and cc your message to email@example.com
You are also encouraged to sign an online petition, such as: https://www.change.org/p/nsw-government-stop-the-nsw-law-requiring-cyclists-to-carry-id
Pedal Power ACT members can be assured that their interests in this area will continue to be pursued. We will continue to work with Bicycle NSW to support their strategies in addressing these measures. Further, we will be asking Chief Minister Barr and Minister Rattenbury to address these issues.