• New South Wales Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, (Getty)Source: Getty
One of New South Wales most contentious cycling policies has been abandoned just months before its planned implementation.
Cycling Central
2 Dec 2016 - 12:28 PM  UPDATED 2 Dec 2016 - 12:33 PM

A controversial photo ID plan was announced along with a raft of other initiatives directed at cyclists, including massive fine increases for not wearing a helmet.

The policy, in which all cyclists would be compelled to carry identification or face a fine of $106 dollars if they were unable to produce one when challenged by police, was set to start on 1 March 2017.

However, Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced on Friday that he would abandon the plan and said the State would instead encourage cyclists to carry ID at all times, something the vast majority already do.

If a rider did not already have a drivers license then a five-year NSW Photo Card, which came at a cost of $51 dollars, was required.

Gay has voiced strong support for the licensing of cyclists in the past and the compulsory photo ID plan was seen by many as a precursor to a fully-fledged system.

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Gay's tenure as roads minister has been a controversial one and his abrasive nature has not helped where consultation was required. But in this case, the current political climate, where the government has been under pressure for not being consultative in other areas, appears to have intervened, but with an albeit minor reprieve for cyclists. 

The inequitable fines for not wearing a helmet and other misdemeanours still remain, while there is little done to police violations of the one-metre rule, even as a trigger for further investigation when there are incidents.

Gay is rumoured to be on the chopping block as a minister in a future cabinet reshuffle and if that eventuates cyclists and their representatives can only wish for a better relationship with the government.

At the very least we can hope this is the start of a roll back in policy thrust and attitude which is punitive in design while doing little to improve on-road conditions for New South Wales Cyclists.