Demand number 4: review the road rules to remove barriers to safe cycling

Sally is riding out of the city on a busy road, heading towards an excellent bicycle route.  She needs to turn right.  Rather than cut across two lanes of fast-moving traffic, Sally pulls onto the footpath at a pedestrian crossing and crosses with the pedestrian lights.

Sally did this because she was looking out for her own safety.  But at the same time, Sally breached the road rules that make it an offence for a cyclist to ride on a footpath, and to cross at a pedestrian crossing.

Ideally, Sally wouldn’t have to make this call, because there would be more safe bike lanes forming a coordinated network across the city.

But until that happens, we believe that cyclists should not be punished for taking defensive action.

We think these offences don’t look at the reality of roads from a cyclist’s perspective. Even the definition of a ‘road’ in the road rules implies that roads are for cars.

The car dooring bill goes some way to addressing the inadequate penalties that currently apply to car drivers who endanger cyclists.  But we would like to see a broader review of all road rules – looking at strategies to make it safer (such as clear rules on safe passing distances), and looking at removing barriers to safe cycling.

What do you think?  Are there road rules that just don’t make sense for cyclists?