Cyclists must give way to pedestrians on a footpath or shared paths

Have you ever been out strolling along the Bribie foreshore only to be pushed off the path by an oncoming cyclist? The other morning, we were going for our usual morning walk, when a lady in her late sixties was coming toward us on her three-wheeler. She was motoring at a good turn of speed and had that determined look. There was no way she would give way or even slow down as we jumped off the path to safety.

Little did she know that she had a responsibility to give way and to ensure our safety and that of all other pedestrians. It is not an uncommon problem, yet others do slow down and are very careful, some leaving the pathway to ensure our safety or even ringing their bell if approaching from behind. While it is about common sense and mutual respect, cyclists need to remember that they could cause a severe injury if they hit a pedestrian. In addition, pedestrians may not see you or hear you and could make an unexpected turn directly into your path. Therefore, it would be advisable for cyclists to slow down when approaching pedestrians to ensure they can give way and ensure their safety.

Cyclists who fail to give way to pedestrians on a footpath or shared path are liable to a fine of $137.

Bicycle Helmets

Bribie's non-wearing of bicycle helmets seems widespread and not limited to a few young boys and girls, but many older residents also disregard this law. Having grown up in a time long before safety helmets and when we didn't wrap our children and citizens in cotton wool, I can empathise with riders. More so in a Bribie environment, where part of the attraction to the Island is the casual lifestyle. After all, nothing beats the sense of freedom and the wind blowing through your hair as you enjoy your ride.

That said, an unexpected accident and a nasty fall on your head can be fatal, or the long-term recovery from head trauma can be life-changing for you and your family. A hit to the head, without a helmet, may result in months in bed, losing your job, lost opportunities, strain on relationships and a huge cost to you, your family, and the State. 

A recent study into the effects of bicycle helmets on injuries showed bicycle helmets reduce head injury by 48%, serious head injury by 60%, traumatic brain injury by 53%, face injury by 23%, and the total number of killed or seriously injured cyclists by 34%. The study analysed the metadata of 55 previous studies between 1989 – 2017, providing very compelling reasons why bicycle helmets should be worn. To read the report abstract, please scan the QR code. 

Reference: Bicycle helmets – To wear or not to wear? A meta-analysis of the effects of bicycle helmets on injuries. Author. Alena Haye. Publication: Accident Analysis & Prevention Publisher: Elsevier Date: August 2018

Whatever your views, we must all respect the law, which requires anyone riding a bicycle or an electric-powered wheeled recreational device or personal mobility device like a rideable to wear an Australian Standard approved bicycle helmet. Failure to do so could result in a fine of $137 unless you have a medical exemption. Children are also subject to the same penalties.

Night-time visibility

I have recently seen cyclists riding at night with no helmet and no lights, and it is nothing short of an accident waiting to happen. Even lights in front and back of your bike don't guarantee your visibility in the dark, so extra care is required. Maybe night riders should consider wearing one of those bright reflective fluoro jackets to aid visibility.

Cyclists who don't have the proper lighting on their bikes could earn a fine of $137.

Mobile Phones

Using a mobile phone while on a bicycle is a big NO, NO, and can incur the same penalty as if you were driving a motor car. Currently, a fine of $1,033 applies. There are no demerit points deducted. The penalties apply to both adults and children.

Bottom line, your full attention is required when riding.  Holding a mobile phone in your hand or resting on any part of your body is illegal, including when stopped in traffic. However, the phone does not need to be on to be an offence. You can use hands-free, if your phone is in a cradle or in a pocket, but you must not look at or touch your phone.

In conclusion

This article is not about knocking cycling but encouraging safer cycling. So, all I ask if you are a cyclist, please be considerate of other road users, particularly for the safety and security of pedestrians as they are vulnerable. 

For more information on Queensland bicycle road rules and safety, scan the QR code

There is also an opportunity for Council to get much more involved in an active transport strategy for Bribie to encourage more cycling. And could include the education and development of safe cycling practices, the greater use of roadways by cyclists and encouraging more children to cycle to and from school. After all, Bribie is an excellent place to bike.

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