Racing cyclist Nathan Thomas is fortunate to have survived a car accident in 2013.
“When I was driving through an intersection, a driver either didn’t see me or was not looking at me and drove through the intersection faster and hit me with a T-bone, which caused me to fly through the air and on to the windshield and hood and then on the street, “said Thomas.
“By sheer luck, I was relatively unscathed, but everyone thought I would not come home that evening.”
Mr Thomas had previously had close calls while driving but said that this incident was the first time he had actually been involved in an accident and he was considering getting back on the bike.
“Will I get hit again? Will someone cut me off? Will someone consider me a road user or am I just an inconvenience?”
Fine for “insulting” leads to a new offense because of “vulnerable road users”
In the past year alone, 113 accidents involving bicycles were reported in the ACT.
In October, Canberrans reacted angrily when one of these incidents was caught on dashcam footage and went viral.
The video shows a Ute pulling a trailer, changing lanes at the last minute to turn, swiping a cyclist sideways at high speed and pushing him off his bike.
The driver was fined only $ 393.
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, up and down arrows to volume. A car pulling a trailer strips off a cyclist.
The incident prompted ACT Greens MLA Jo Clay to bring bill to the Legislative Assembly to provide tougher penalties for accidents that injure vulnerable road users.
The bill would create a new offense of “negligent driving – harming the unprotected road user” with a maximum penalty of 50 units of punishment – a fine of US $ 1,600.
“It is so important to reduce the harm to pedestrians, cyclists, people entering and exiting public transit, and everyone else on or near our streets,” said Clay.
“It is honestly an insult that someone can inflict lifelong injuries and drive away with a fine not much higher than if they drove too fast and didn’t hit anyone.
“As we continue to push for more separate paths, it is critical that we develop a caring culture among drivers.”
Pedal Power ACT chairman Ian Ross said the current penalties are not dissuasive enough.
“It’s cheaper for you to get fined if you hit a female cyclist than if you put the bumper on the car you hit her in,” said Ross.
“That’s not good enough and that’s not what we need to change people’s behavior.
“We need to value people who ride bikes. We need to send a really clear message that if you ride a bike on a road, you are protected and our police are protecting you.”
ACT Greens MLA Jo Clay and Pedal Power ACT Managing Director Ian Ross say tougher penalties for bicycling hit would send a clear message of safety to riders. (
ABC News: Harry Frost
Transportation Secretary Chris Steel did not reveal whether the government would support the bill when it is introduced to the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
“The government will carefully review Ms. Clay’s bill over the coming weeks and how escalating penalties could help make roads safer for all users,” said Mr. Steel.
“We are currently also examining more extensive violations and penalties in road traffic in order to improve safety on our roads, including for unprotected road users.”