LAWS: Both cyclists and motorists are required to obey the road rules.
LAWS: Both cyclists and motorists are required to obey the road rules. Allan Reinikka

How big a fine can get for cycling while on the phone

WITH more cyclists on the roads, it's a timely reminder for both cyclists and motorists to share the road, safely.

Toogoolawah Police Station officer in charge Sergeant John Cumner said it was vital both parties were aware of the rules and laws when commuting and sharing the road.

From passing with adequate space, to drink riding and bike safety, there are plenty of laws both parties need to be aware of.

Sgt Cumner said it was a matter of all road users being courteous to each other, whether they were in a car, on a bike or riding a horse.

Senior Constable Claire Heptinstall said the Toogoolawah police were actively policing bike safety.

She said the updated legislation ensured drivers were allowing bicycle riders plenty of room when passing or they risked losing three demerit points and being slapped with a $378 fine. When travelling in 60km/h zones or less, motorists are required to be one metre from cyclists. On a roads zoned more than 60km/h, motorists are required to be at least 1.5m from cyclists.

"That means the widest part of your vehicle, which is usually the wing mirror, to the widest part of the bike," Sen-Constable Heptinstall said.

"But, if you're towing a trailer or horse float, the widest part of the trailer, float or car needs to be a full metre away."

Some of the fines:

* Riding without a helmet $133

* Failing to stop at a stop sign $133

* Riding a bicycle using other than the seat position $133

* Failing to stop before riding across a children's or pedestrian crossing $133

* Failing to keep at least one hand on the handlebars $133

* Riding a bicycle not on the left of a footpath or shared path $133

Passing appropriately

IN addition to the spacing requirements, the legislation now allows motorists to cross double white lines or painted islands to pass cyclists - if safe to do so.

Sen-Constable Heptinstall said the provision was put in place to allow motorists to pass with safe clearances.

"It was put in place so people didn't continue to drive at cyclists because they 'couldn't get around'," she said.

"If motorists can't pass safely, they need to drive slowly and patiently behind the cyclist until it is safe to overtake - similar to if you wanted to pass a slow-moving car."

Rules also included drink-riding.

"If you're in control of any movable vehicle, which includes a horse or a bike, it is an offence to be intoxicated and they are subject to drink driving laws" she said.

 

Toogoolawah Police senior constable Claire Heptinstall.
Claire Heptinstall. ALI KUCHEL

Fines applicable to cyclists

ALTHOUGH demerit points are only related to a driver's licence, bike riders can still be fined for many offences that endanger themselves or other road users.

There are 24 registered fines, which will cost the bike rider $133, along with a bunch of additional road rules, which range in fines from $80 to $400.

While failing to wear a helmet, speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign might sound like given rules, they all fall under the legislation.

And for the "cool dudes" who might like to show off, failing to keep at least one hand on the handlebars when riding could end up being not-so-cool when police issue a fine.

Toogoolawah police officer senior constable Claire Heptinstall said the rules were in place to make bicycle riders accountable for their actions.

"If they're going to be road users, they must abide by the road rules," Snr Const Heptinstall said.

Other fines cyclists can be slugged for include failing to ride your bike facing forward, carrying more people than the bike is designed for and holding onto a moving vehicle.

"Cyclists are not allowed to be talking on their phones when riding a bike," she said.

"They are seen as a road user and be fined as a road user."

Snr Const Heptinstall said there was more bike traffic on local roads.

"Cycling is definitely becoming a more prominent activity for people, and it's a great fitness and social activity," she said.

"We have to be courteous to all road users, the cyclists are road users, they're on our roads we need to show them the respect you would show anyone else.

"If they're gong to be road users, they must abide by the road rules."

With more bikes on the road, Snr Const Heptinstall and Toogoolawah police urge motorists and cyclists to stay safe, and consider everyone else using the roads.

A full list of bike riding laws and requirements can be found at www.qld.gov.au/transport.