A new safety campaign featuring customised promotional bicycles is alerting cyclists to a road rule obliging them to give way to pedestrians on shared paths.
VicRoads have joined with Central Goldfields Shire to encourage cyclists to ride at safer speeds on shared paths and to use bicycle bells to warn pedestrians they are approaching.
Central Goldfields Shire will place the static ‘promo bike’, emblazoned with road safety signage, in high traffic areas to boost road rules awareness and encourage safe and respectful behaviour.
The campaign’s catalyst was a recent review of Victoria’s Cycling Road Rules revealing many people were unaware cyclists must give way to pedestrians on shared paths.
VicRoads data indicates many shared path riders travel at about 30km/h during peak periods when paths are busy, increasing the chances of a crash and serious injury.
Furthermore, 82 per cent of riders observed during a VicRoads study did not use bells or other warning devices to alert pedestrians they were approaching.
VicRoads Director Road User and Vehicle Access, Robyn Seymour said excessive bike speed combined with riders not alerting or giving way to pedestrians was an accident waiting to happen.
“Being struck by a bike rider travelling at 30km/h does not bear thinking about,” Ms Seymour said.
“We were quite astonished to discover many people are unaware that road rules dictate bike riders must give way to pedestrians.”
Central Goldfields Shire Chief Administrator Noel Harvey said Council was pleased to support the campaign.
“With an increasing number of residents using bikes as a form of transport it’s an important message for us to promote so that we can promote awareness and encourage bike safety.”
Victorian Road Rules state that cyclists on shared paths must give way to all pedestrians, including people using wheelchairs, mobility scooters and wheeled recreational devices.
Riders must also keep to the left hand side of paths unless impractical, whereas pedestrians can walk on any part or side of a path, but are advised to keep left so cyclists can pass safely.
Not obeying the give-way road rule can result in a $159 on-the-spot fine.
While it is not a road rule, using a bell or other warning device to alert pedestrians travelling in the same direction, is strongly advisable.
Councils involved in the campaign include: Central Goldfields Shire, City of Casey; City of Darebin; Knox City Council; Maribyrnong City Council; Stonnington City Council; Whitehorse City Council, and City of Yarra.