Over the past two weeks in both Australia and the UK we've witnessed far too many deaths of cyclists on our roads, the latest, just recently in London and this past Tuesday in Sydney. No question it's been a depressing time for cyclists in both countries.
This after years of effort with various initiatives including public education, traffic calming and shared cycling infrastructure.
Groups like the Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF) do amazing work in raising awareness, particularly with its "A Metre Matters" program and more recently a partnership with the transport and logistics trucking company, Toll Group.
All of these initiatives are commendable and combine to raise awareness but unfortunately it appears to be a fruitless effort, if recent statistics are anything to go by.
As the Guardian Australia points out, this year's toll, is almost 40 per cent higher than the 2010-2012 average. Half a world away, London has now recorded its 13th fatality of the year.
"The fact that five cyclists have been killed in London in the last nine days is shocking news and an urgent investigation needs to take place into what could have been done to prevent these deaths," said British Cycling's Campaigns Manager, Martin Key.
Cycling advocates in both Sydney and London (and elsewhere) are making headway, but it's slow going as the death toll rises.
I've come to the conclusion that until specific infrastructure is comprehensively built throughout a city like Sydney, more draconian measures are needed.
I don't pretend to have all the answers to what is a complex problem, but the time for public education and taking a softly, softly approach may be over. It's seemingly ineffective and may only be preaching to the already converted.
It may be time for laws which puts the full onus off proof on a motorist. Simply put, hit a cyclist and you're automatically charged with an offense of negligence with demerits and license suspensions the order of the day. Serious injury or death and you're fronting a judge with time done in the big house.
In Sydney, New South Wales, where I live, the State government is talking the talk about getting more people on bikes in order to meet both transport and public health goals, but who will take to the road when the tabloid headlines say you may be killed or injured?
We need a metre enshrined in all States and we need a proper cycling infrastructure network, but we also need the kinds of laws which may add a third protective layer to riding a bike.