Readers debate pros and cons of licensing cyclists
UPDATE: OUR readers have flared up over a suggestion made by Roads Minister Duncan Gay at a roundtable conference on cycling safety that compulsory identification for bike riders should be brought in.
Mr Gay has said he was "increasingly persuaded" NSW needed to introduce a licensing system for all cyclists over the age of 18.
Over on The Northern Star's Facebook page, debate raged.
"Licensing cyclists is an idiotic proposition," Nathan Luke said.
"The cost will be massive and turn more off cycling."
"Maybe consider then making longer BIKE tracks - that's a better idea," Nelly Lee Green said.
"I only ride a bike, never had a car license though, and i find this idea silly. I'm a safe rider. I'm in a regional area with no high traffic. This area has many bike tracks and they are very handy. I DONT LIKE that idea one bit."
Marcos Fernandes agreed.
"They're only persuaded because they want you to pay more money than what you are already," Marcos said.
"The whole 'pay your fair share' bull that people like saying is bullsh*t. Every landowner pays rates, and everyone pays GST, and these pay for local and state gov. roads."
Should cyclists be licensed or be forced to carry identification?
This poll ended on 24 July 2015.
They should be licensed so they can be penalised the same way as motorists for breaking road rules
They should have to carry some sort of photo ID, the same as motorists.
No. This whole debate is just idiotic.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
However, on the other side of the argument, were people like Greg Lewicki
"All for it. Including skills testing. Should be a minimum standard of capability as with any other vehicle. Many are currently a danger to themselves and others," Greg said.
"I agree," Mavis Meadowcroft said.
"Unfortunately a small minority of cyclist do have a total disregard to road rules and obviously put a low value on their own lives."
Others could see both sides of the argument, like John Sheean.
"I don't believe a license is necessary but registration is!" John said.
"Yes cyclists can be fined already but only if police happen to see the incident, otherwise how do you identify them.
Meanwhile car drivers are instantly identifiable and accountable because of number plates."
Nathan Luke added "I feel insurance is the biggest issue. Carrying ID should also be considered but an actual licence? No. How many people who ride have lost their driving licence?"
John Wooldridge said "no" to a license, but "yes to some form of ID".
"And it should be simple and free as most riders are already contributing via the vehicles they own."
"I think a bike rego would be better," Brady Milne said.
INITIAL REPORT: HARRIS Cycles Lismore manager, Tony Keogh, said he can't see the point in making it compulsory for cyclists to carry identification.
The proposal, which has created controversy among the NSW cycling community, is being examined by a roundtable of stakeholders, convened by Roads Minister Duncan Gay.
"At the moment if I run a red light or a stop sign and the police pull me up and they're not satisfied that I've proved who I am, they detain me until I do," Mr Keogh said.
"Its obviously more convenient for the police to know who you are there and then. So there's no legal reason that I can see to bring it in; it's just a convenience thing for the police."
Mr Keogh said most cyclists around Lismore already carried identification.
He said it was just another move toward NSW becoming a "nanny state".
"It's a non-issue really because I'd think you'd find most people cycling on the road, as opposed to in the bush, would be carrying their wallet anyway," he said.
"When we've finished a ride we generally go to a coffee shop or pub and you need your wallet there so we carry it."
The most concerning aspect for Mr Keogh was the motivation behind the proposed law and future consequences.
"Is this just the thin edge of the wedge?" he questioned.
"Are they then going to say you have to have 'a' photo ID, then they'll make it 'the' photo ID, then a licence to cycle, then a registration of bicycles."
"Introducing these 'nanny state' measures would be detrimental to the sport of cycling and dissuade cyclists from riding.
"In this day and age, with cycling being a green mode of transport and with health problems such as heart disease and obesity being big issues, cycling is the cure.
"So if they are going to dissuade people from cycling then there will be massive implications for the health budget."