A coalition of cyclists gathers to protest against new bicycle policies and ride down College Street. Photo: Christopher Pearce Protesters rode bikes of all shapes and sizes including tandems, cruisers, road and mountain bikes, and cargo, foldable and recumbent bikes. Photo: Christopher Pearce
Sydney Push cyclists want to deliver a message to NSW Premier Mike Baird – Sydney is failing to keep pace with the rest of the world. Photo: Christopher Pearce
A rainbow coalition of cyclists swept down College Street on Saturday afternoon to deliver a message to NSW Premier Mike Baird – Sydney is failing to keep pace with the rest of the world.
They rode bikes of all shapes and sizes including tandems, cruisers, road and mountain bikes, and cargo, foldable and recumbent bikes.
And they filled each lane two abreast, riding slowly to temporarily claim back College Street where the cycleway was recently removed.
The cyclists were members of the Sydney Push, the action group defending cyclists’ rights, protesting against Transport for NSW’s Get Together campaign which introduces a raft of new rules and fines for cyclists.
They particularly object to new requirements for cyclists to carry photo ID and at increases in fines – from $71 to $319 for not wearing a helmet, $71 to $425 for running a red light, and from $71 to $319 for holding up a moving vehicle.
The new rules and penalties are described by Sydney Push spokesman Rob Berry as aimed at discouraging Sydneysiders from cycling.
“Our goal is for the NSW government to reconsider these policies so that the rate of cycling can continue to grow,” he said.
“Every country in the world encourages cycling. It is supported across the political spectrum. But here we have a government that considers cycling as an intrusion and brings in laws that won’t protect the safety of cyclists but discourages them.”
Bronwen Evans, 57, a vet, says she has been “car doored” twice while riding her bike along a cycleway.
She now rides her bike through the traffic on College Street after the cycleway was removed.
“In Europe they respect cyclists and encourage everyone to ride,” she said. “We have the weather here but the government wants to discourage us.”
Ben Triefus, 56, an IT professional cycles three times a week from his home in Mount Colah to work in Burwood.
“Every other country wants to make cycling a utility but here they are doing everything to eradicate it,” he said.
Yvonne Poon, 35, is recovering from a recent heart procedure. “It’s better for me to get on a bike and exercise,” she said.
“I tell friends I’m not a cyclist. I’m a person who rides a bike. Cyclists are basically regarded in this country as scum.”
After rallying at Whitlam Square, about 100 cyclists rode down College Street and on to Art Gallery Road, finishing at Martin Place where they made their own identity cards which they will deliver to politicians to show the varying backgrounds of the cycling clan.
“There’s no such thing as a normal bike rider,” Yvonne said. “Today is about diversity.”
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