Cycle safe: Bike registration mooted as way to rein in riders

By Mathew Dearnaley

Bus union leader leading push for bicycle identification scheme

Cyclists should not be required to pass tests before being allowed on the roads. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Cyclists should not be required to pass tests before being allowed on the roads. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A bus union leader is leading calls for a bicycle registration scheme to discourage riders from running red lights and pedestrian crossings.

But the push has failed to win support from the Automobile Association and Government.

Auckland Tramways Union president Gary Froggatt says bikes should be identifiable.

"I really think there should be some identification on a bike - a bike should be registered because some of these irresponsible guys are getting away with blue murder," he told Herald.

Mr Froggatt says his union supports an education programme, sponsored by national road safety funding and Auckland's largest bus company and facilitated by Cycle Action Auckland, aimed at giving professional drivers and cyclists a better understanding of the challenges faced by each group on the city's roads.

But he said it was "strange" that bikes were not required to carry identification stickers.

"It really worries me with cyclists going through red lights and pedestrian crossings," he said.

"I followed a cyclist once who nearly knocked over a little girl on a crossing right outside my office and he wasn't repentant at all."

AA spokesman Dylan Thomsen said the organisation could understand Mr Froggatt's thinking, but did not believe his idea would be workable.

"It would likely cost more to set up and run such a system, let alone enforcing it, than the level of funds it brought in," Mr Thomsen said.

Neither should cyclists be required to pass tests before being allowed on the roads.

"Many of the people who cycle are also drivers, so they will already know the road rules and have passed the drivers' licence test," he said.

"What we would like to see is more courses where people can get professional training for how to cycle safely, and these being promoted as a way for people to ensure they have the skills they need to stay safe."

A ministry spokesperson pointed to Government support for cycling education programmes and the Transport Agency's establishment of an expert panel due to start next month, to come up with advice on possible rule changes for making cycling safer.

Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said his organisation would oppose any extra barrier which discouraged more people from taking up riding.

Mr Morgan said his organisation was already deeply involved in riding skills courses, and believed drivers could also benefit from them.

"It's good that people learn their road sense as a pedestrian or on a bicycle, before they get behind the wheel of a tonne-and-a-half piece of machinery."

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- NZ Herald

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