Drivers could face $100k fine for bullying cyclists
A NORTHERN Rivers cycling group has adopted bike cameras to provide evidence to police about aggression from drivers they claim are targeting riders.
After numerous close encounters with who they claim to be aggressive drivers, the Alstonville Cycling Group recently purchased 30 bike cameras in addition to the five already operating by individual riders in the group.
And drivers caught and prosecuted could face fines up to $100,000.
The group's spokesman said the camera when mounted to the seatpost of a bicycle will record high definition 720P video with audio and also display a powerful 30 lumens, red flashing light when the camera is operating.
He said the Alstonville Gruppetto has 76 members, who cycle regularly within an 80km radius from the Alstonville Village.
The spokesman said while the camera's introduction will not prevent any accidental or deliberate confrontation between cyclists and motorists, it will provide an accurate account of the circumstances and consequent outcome.
"It will also be incumbent on riders to act in a responsible and courteous manner," he said.
He said the ACG cyclists are aged between 40 years and 74 years of age and respectfully follow the road rules.
As the most vulnerable of all road users, he said cyclists are extremely careful and hope drivers of motor vehicles and motorcycles recognise this and take extra care when passing.
"Many of our riders are retired members of the Alstonville and Ballina communities and want to maintain fitness and enjoy their cycling," he said.
"Cycling does not have to be dangerous, but a confrontation with a motorist in a car can be deadly (and) virtually every person in this group can tell you about a near-miss or a deliberate attempt to intimidate or harm them."
The spokesman said although the NSW Government legislated in 2016 to provide a minimum clearance of 1m when vehicles are passing a bicycle in a 60kmh speed zone and 1.5m in all other speed zones above 60kph, cyclists were regularly passed by motorists driving too fast and too close.
Failure to do so will attract a fine of $330 and two demerit points.
"It appears that many motorists are still unaware that it's legal for cyclists to ride two abreast on all public roads in NSW, and three abreast when overtaking other bikes," he said.
At the same time the Government made changes to the rules allowing motorists to cross an unbroken line to overtake cyclists, only when safe to do so.
The spokesman said according to the Crimes Act 1900, Predatory Driving Section 51A, the Government also increased the penalty for Predatory Driving, Road Rage, which currently stands at five years imprisonment and/or $100,000 fine.
He said the use of the Fly6 cameras will provide valuable evidence in these situations listed above, plus any assault or intimidation that may eventuate on the road.
"Motorists should now assume if they see a red flashing light mounted on a bicycle there is a high probability that their actions are being recorded (as) these cameras are relatively cheap and highly effective at gathering video evidence."
Bike Emporium proprietor Mark Downey said they have received a lot of enquiries about these camera light combinations.
"I have them mounted as front and rear lights and use mine all the time day and night and I transfer it from bike to bike a lot even just riding to work in Ballina."
He said the front light camera can be paired with your smart phone which allows to review and footage
"You can support your local bike shop because we charge the same as the supplier does online," Mr Downey said.