Michael Tomalaris has seen Sydney's cycling future in Melbourne but feels there is still a long way to go before Australia's global city reaches parity.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald on December 9 with the attached headline "Cyclists getting an easy ride" had me thinking.

At
first glance, I assumed it was another token opinionated attack on bike
riders who choose to use two wheels as a form of transport or
recreation, rather than get behind the wheel of their car.

It suggested cyclists are a law onto themselves when it comes to obeying general rules of the road.

The
report claims an overwhelming majority of of riders have been issued
for offences such as not wearing a helmet, riding on footpaths and
running red lights.

But after seriously considering the scenarios raised in the article, I must confess I tend to agree to some extent.

I
have ridden my bike in several of Australia's capital cities, and
there's no question in my mind that Sydney is the worst when cyclists
and motorists try to share the road.

As always, there are good
riders who obey the laws of the land, and there are those who flirt with
same road rules - at the same time infuriating those inside their cars.

How
many times have I sat behind the wheel of my car cursing cyclists
(particularly in inner city suburbs) who are commuting to work without a
helmet, and devoid of other safety instruments such as front and rear
flashing lights (vital in winter when daylight hours are much shorter)?

How
many times have I seen riders recklessly running red lights at major
intersections only to miss being hit by the barest of margins?

As a resident of NSW, I feel the laws aren't being policed properly and so often riders are getting away with plenty.

After
spending last weekend in Melbourne and riding some 200km in a bunch, I
feel Victoria is going the right way about easing the "great divide"
that may exist between riders and drivers.

I saw police issuing
infringement notices on the windscreens of cars which are banned from
parking on the legendary Beach Road between 6-10am on Saturday and
Sunday mornings.

To the contrary, I also saw a couple of riders
get fined, each for running a red light. A member of the Victoria Police
was on the spot to issue the infringement notice.

It's fair to
say both motorists and cyclists in Victoria (from my observations) are
evenly being singled out if either breaks the law.

That's doesn't appear to be happening in NSW!

You wouldn't expect otherwise in a state where there appears to be frustration and anger vented from both sides.

Thanks
to road awareness programmes such as the Amy Gillett Foundation, I
really get the impression Victoria has come a long way, while
Sydney-siders still have a lot to learn.