By Jeremy Rochow
Last updated on: December 21, 2020 at 10:40 am
The number of cyclists caught by police breaking road rules has soared 86% over the past 6 years, prompting an RAA safety warning.
Last financial year police issued 11,835 fines or cautions to cyclists for breaking the law – up from 6350 in 2014-15.
The most common offence was riding without a helmet, with 6669 cyclists caught in 2019/20. This was followed by riding a bike at night without a white front light (2009 offences) and cycling without a red rear light (1975 offences).
During this period cyclists were also caught riding with no hands on the handlebars, failing to ride in the bicycle lane and dinkying passengers.
RAA Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain expects an increase in people riding bikes during the summer months and urges cyclists to keep safety front of mind.
“Cyclists are vulnerable road users so they should take every precaution to keep themselves safe from injury or worse,” Mr Mountain says.
“It’s crucial to wear an appropriate safety helmet because its purpose is to reduce brain injury, which tragically can result from a collision.
“It’s also important that cyclists are seen at night, so make sure you have the correct lighting if you’re riding in the dark, heavy rain or in dusty conditions.”
Mr Mountain said motorists also have to play their part in keeping cyclists and other vulnerable road users safe.
“The minimum safe passing distance is 1m for speeds up to 60km/h and 1.5m for roads with a higher speed limit,” he said.
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“While motorists can cross double lines to overtake cyclists, they can only do this when the road is clear. Don’t attempt the manoeuvre when there’s oncoming traffic. Wait behind the cyclist until it’s clear to pass.”
SA police figures show 152 motorists were caught driving in a bicycle lane, and another 33 were fined for failing to keep a safe distance when passing a cyclist last financial year.