Cyclists Forced To Carry Photo Identification And Face Big Fines Under New Rules

Cyclists Forced To Carry Photo Identification And Face Big Fines Under New Rules

Adult cyclists will be required to carry photo identification and fined 350 per cent more for not wearing a helmet under new rules and penalties to be introduced by the NSW government.

Drivers will also be required to leave a 1m buffer when overtaking cyclists, and at least 1.5m when travelling faster than 60km/h, or face losing two demerit points and a $319 fine.

Roads Minister Duncan Gay unveiled the cycling package on Monday. The reforms will start in March 2016.

“We hope this is the right way to do it, but if we need to do more we will, if we need to wind it back we will,” Mr Gay said.

Mr Gay stopped short of introducing a licensing system for cyclists, a proposal the minister last year said he was “increasingly persuaded” by.

Instead, it will be compulsory for adult riders to carry photo identification so they can be identified if they break the road rules or in an emergency situation.

“We needed some way of identification and enforcement … suggestions including licences and registration were rejected by the committee,” Mr Gay said.

“In the end we came to a consensus. That is better than being at war when going ahead.”

There will be a grace period of 12 months for cyclists caught without photo identifications. However, a penalty of $106 will be introduced from March 2017 – the same as applies to drivers caught without a licence.

Penalties will increase dramatically for cyclists caught breaking road rules. While most offences currently attract a $71 fine, cyclists caught riding without a helmet will be a slugged $319.

Running a red light will incur a $425 fine, riding dangerously a $425 fine, holding onto a moving vehicle a fine of $319 and not stopping at a pedestrian crossing a fine of $425.

The introduction of a compulsory minimum distance of 1m for drivers has already been trialled in Queensland, Canberra and South Australia.

The government is also introducing a “new safety advisory recommendation” for riders to leave a gap of 1m, where practical, when passing pedestrians on a shared path.

Greens transport spokeswoman Dr Mehreen Faruqi supported the new passing distance laws, but said the fines and compulsory identification were “regressive and punitive measures”.

Dr Faruqi said it was “ridiculous” that the new $319 fine for not wearing a helmet was almost double the fine for driving in a bike lane and the mandatory identification rule would discourage bike riding.

“What will actually make riders safer is installing good cycling infrastructure. Sadly, but not surprisingly, it doesn’t seem the government has any interest in the evidence,” Dr Faruqi said.

Bicycle NSW chief executive Ray Rice said he was pleased with the package of changes, particularly the introduction of the minimum passing distance.

The increased fines and requirement for identification, Mr Rice said, would not have a huge effect on cyclists as 90 per cent already carried identification and 70 per cent already wore helmets.

“We don’t think it’s necessary and therefore why legislate for something that people are already doing … most riders obey the law already,” Mr Rice said.

This article originally appeared in Digital Life, The Sydney Morning Herald’s home for everything technology. Follow Digital Life on Facebook and Twitter.


  • We’ve had the 1/1.5m rule here in tassie for a few months now and it came with a rule change in regard to double unbroken white lines. Basically you may cross the lines if getting around a bike. Big problem is off course that the lines are there for a reason and a number of times I’ve come around a corner to find a large vehicle on my side of the road with no where to go.
    I am really worried this new rule is going to end up killing someone.

    • I think that says more about the other driver who is overtaking on a blind bend rather than any failing of the rule itself. Roughly the rule states: “You can cross the line to avoid a hazard or pass a bike rider when it is safe.” Safe being the operative word.

      • That’s true a lot of the time @nosoupforyou but I think @browndog point was that drivers can be rather robotic, and given that double white lines are usually put in places like blind corners, allowing people to cross them in a sense defeats their purpose.

    • Well when the cyclist runs a red as they do, it’ll make it easier to identify the body when it gets collected by a car.

  • Kind of a turn off for me. Just learnt to ride a bicycle recently (yes, as an adult).

    Needing photo id, which I’d assume is the same photo ID you require in many other places is going to probably make me not go out on my bicycle until I can afford a passport.

    I have a license, which I leave in my car(not the smartest thing). However most times I take it out of my car, I lose it somewhere and then have to get a new one at the RTA or whatever they’re called these days. I would happily go pay for a photo id card. As I have a drivers license though, I am not allowed to have a photo card, so the only other option for cycling ID i have is a passport as I’d rather not constantly lose my license.

    • If your worried about misplacing your drivers license if you take it with you on a bike ride what makes you think a passport would be any better.

      2017 we will have digital license anyway so you can have your license on your smart phone.

      But I don’t understand why they cant just have police carry tablet or phone and download anyone’s license on the spot.

      • Billy, the police can check the licence online, what they can’t do is prove it’s you? What if you don’t have a drivers licence?

  • Long over-due legislation! Next step will be to register all bicycles and have them display a number plate. This will make reporting offenders much easier.

    • So you currently report all those cars breaking road rules?!

      As a society we have problems with inactivity, obesity and congestion yet the NSW government choose to make life harder for cyclists who are tackling all those problems!

      • not harder at all.
        my suggestion is a vest, like motorcycle riders who have got learners in victoria have, printed on that, a registration number, to identify the person.

  • Less rules and fines but more follow ups and making driver to understand the rules would help much more. What about children? What happens if they don’t have an ID or forgot to wear a helmet? To stop in front of a pedestrian stopping is just ridiculous.

    • read the regulation again.
      children are not 18 are they?
      18 year olds and older needs to carry id. not a 6 year hold child.

  • “…Mr Rice said, would not have a huge affect on cyclists as … 70 per cent already wore helmets.”

    AFAIK, we’ve have compulsory helmet laws throughout Australia. Going by this statement, the Bicycle NSW CEO seems to be admitting the 30% of cyclists (knowingly?) break the helmet law.

    While I gave up cycling on roads ages ago, the attitude of some cyclists seems like hubris on wheels.

  • This will help emergency responders enormously. It’s very difficult attending a MAMIL who has lost at bike-vs-car.

    Mostly it’s around what conditions/allergies they have. But not least, it’s not knowing who is wondering why their NOK hasn’t come home.

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