Cycling road rules under review: You decide

Victoria’s road rules for cyclists could be changed based on the weight of public opinion about how motorists and cyclists ought to share the road.

The Napthine government will survey the public over the next month about its knowledge of cycling-related road rules and its attitudes about interaction between people in vehicles and on bikes.

The results, from a VicRoads online survey that will run from Sunday until July 27, will be used to inform a review of the state’s cycling-related road rules.

Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the government was launching the survey because it wanted to understand more about where gaps exist in the knowledge of road rules, and to hear about the problems drivers, cyclists and pedestrians want to see fixed.

“We know cyclists and drivers often don’t see eye to eye and there have been a number of incidents where cars and bikes come into conflict because people are not sure who is in the right,” Mr Mulder said. 

“We believe this is partly caused by a lack of understanding and knowledge, by both groups, of the rules that apply.’’

Bicycle Network spokesman Garry Brennan said Victoria was overdue for a ‘‘line by line review’’ of cycling-related road rules to reflect the increasing popularity of cycling, but said any talk of a war on the roads between motorists and cyclists was misleading.

“Lately we see some roads with more bikes than cars on them at particular times of the day — the whole dynamic of the road is changing and the laws have to respond to this new traffic mix,’’ Mr Brennan said.

‘‘While both drivers and riders in Victoria generally get on well, there is nevertheless considerable uncertainty and confusion over some of the rules.’’

He said an explicit law was needed that put the duty of care upon motorists ‘‘to be prudent and careful in all interactions with cyclists and pedestrians’’.

The review of Victoria’s cycling road rules is part of the government’s 10-year cycling strategy, 2013-23. 

The strategy, released in 2012, noted cycling for commuting had boomed 35 per cent in five years and 30 per cent over 10 years for recreation.

VicRoads says it will also examine cycling crash statistics in its review of the laws. Six cyclists were killed on the state’s roads last year and five have died so far this year.

The survey, which takes about half an hour to complete, consists of dozens of yes or no questions about cycling-related road rules as well as open-ended questions about cycling ‘‘issues’’, such as sharing road space.

Opinions are also sought on whether certain existing road rules are desirable, such as that which allows cyclists to ride two abreast. 

To complete the survey click here  

- The Age

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