In case you were wondering, yes there was a concerted, targeted blitz on cycling misdemeanours in Sydney on Thursday 25 February.
“We are out there to make sure all road users share the road safely and that those that set out on their journey, make it home in one piece,” said NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith in a statement issued late yesterday.
“If we detect serious breaches, we will be speaking to those that put their own lives and the lives of other road users at risk.”
On 1 March 2016 new laws will be introduced in the state that significantly increase fines imposed on cyclists for running red lights, not wearing a helmet and an ambiguous concept that’s open to interpretation: ‘riding dangerously’.
Each of these will offenses will earn any perp a fine of $425.
Five days out from the introduction of the laws, the NSW Police were out issuing fines at the old bargain price of just $71. And it was all part of a community initiative to help people “make it home in one piece”.
The blitz on dangerous cycling has a name: ‘Operation Pedro 5’ and it reminds those who want to ride bikes in Sydney that they must obey the rules.
The statement from NSW police reiterated the need for this operation.
“Police were out in force at major intersections in Sydney’s CBD and surrounding suburbs yesterday (Thursday 25 February 2016), as part of a large-scale operation focussing on cyclist and pedestrian safety.”
And here’s a summary of fines issue:
- 103 cyclists disobey traffic control lights
- 201 cyclists not wearing a helmet
- 80 cyclists riding on footpath
There were a further 64 cautions/warnings issued.
Behave people, or you’re going to get caught.
Smith was adamant that this is a service to the community, adding: “Police are committed to enforcing road safety everyday of the year, no matter the weather conditions or time of day.”
There’s a good reason for these antics too, as Smith explained.
“Cyclists and pedestrians are road users too,” he said. “All too often police are seeing pedestrians tuned into electronic devices, oblivious to traffic conditions, stepping out onto the road, while cyclists are undertaking risky behaviours putting them at danger of being injured or killed.”
In case you believe that it was a cycling-only blitz, think again as police remind us that 205 fines were issued for motorists during ‘Operation Pedro 5’ on 25 February 2016.
According to the statement, “Last year, xx pedestrians and xx cyclists died on NSW roads.”
We can safely assume that these number will be filled in shortly…* in the meantime, be careful out there. The last thing anyone wants is to be the latest “xx” in a police report about the dangers of road use.
The statement confirmed: “Operation Pedro 5 included officers from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, and Commands within the Central Metropolitan Region, who focused on cyclist, pedestrian and associated offences in the busiest intersections in and around the Sydney CBD.”
Were you one of the perps? Did you see any bad cycling behaviour on the streets of your town yesterday? Do you have something to add to the comments offered by police?
Yesterday was only a small taste of what’s yet to come if you don’t obey the rules in NSW.
By this time next week, a similar such blitz will also be able to fine cyclists if they are over 18 and are not carrying ID. Oh yeah, and it’ll be a lot more profitable too…!
* * * * *
*Note: the original statement was issued at 7.32pm Thursday 25 February. At 11.51am this morning, the blanks were filled in with additional commentary from the NSW police media unit (see below).
“Police will stand up any operation that will contribute to the reduction of road trauma in NSW. Our mandate is to ensure the safety of all road users. With 56 people killed so far this year on our roads, compared with 53 in the same period last year, it is vital that we continue to enforce the road rules, which have been developed to combat the serious and tragic loss of life on our roads.
“Last year, seven cyclists and 61 pedestrians were killed in NSW. Our efforts and resources are pooled to bring those tragic statistics down and bring all road users home safely. At the same time, we are urging all road users to work with us, hand in hand. We want everyone to understand and accept that road safety is a responsibility that we must all shoulder.”