Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

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Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:41 pm

I've read with some amusement the "to ding or not to ding" topic; http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=61205&start=225

There was a fevered discussion about whether it's against the law to ding your bell too much. If such a prohibition exists, it would be thoroughly ridiculous, but it got me thinking; most bike regulations are the pointless concoctions of mindless bureaucrats justifying their existence that are best ignored.

I don't fully agree with MHL, but that and lights requirements are the only two "laws" that have any merit I reckon. In NSW, two other laws I'm aware of are the bell or horn requirement and the insistence your bike be fitted with a rear red reflector. The bell requirement, a very good idea of course, is pointless as you aren't also required to use it! You could deliberately fit a functioning bell with the express intention of never touching it and you'd be a legally upright cyclist.

The red reflector -- has anyone, ever, anywhere been issued an infringement notice for not having one? And are you required to have one fitted during daylight hours?

Then there's the shared paths and footpaths regulations -- I don't know what they are, I'm constantly confused or surprised by signage on the paths or on poles.

On one evening I rode off to a public open air event forgetting my helmet and having my front light die on me half way to the destination. I was weaving my way through a dense collection of pedestrians on the footpath when, because of my lousy visibility, I came within an inch of clattering off a deep gutter. I made for quite spectacle getting out of my toeclips in enough time to stay upright in among a cluster of revelers. I guffawed loudly at my own idiocy drawing the attention of those around me including two beefy humourless coppers.

Apart from giving me a blank stare, the cops did nothing and I rode off having broken a bucket load of laws -- no helmet, no front light, no rear reflector, riding on a footpath and who knows what else.

My point is that those rules and regulations did nothing to stop me (unintentionally) being a danger to society and had I been held to account for my breaches it would have served no purpose except to annoy me and placate a bored cop.

Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless. Most of them, anyway.
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by BNA » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:43 pm

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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TimW » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:43 pm

it's allways some one else's fault isn't it?
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:52 pm

TimW wrote:it's allways some one else's fault isn't it?


No, I'm not "blaming" anyone for anything.

I'm merely questioning the value of the ream of regulations.

I'd be interested to hear any justification for many of the pointless regulations if you'd care to share them with us, Tim...
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TimW » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:58 pm

TTar wrote:
TimW wrote:it's allways some one else's fault isn't it?


No, I'm not "blaming" anyone for anything.

I'm merely questioning the value of the ream of regulations.

I'd be interested to hear any justification for many of the pointless regulations if you'd care to share them with us, Tim...

I'll just sit and eat some popcorn thanks :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby Ken Ho » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:29 pm

I'll play.
I agree.
Cyclists have delusions of grandeur about being "vehicles" subject to the same rules as,and therefore somehow equal to, motorized vehicles.
Really, cycles are more like "wheeled pedestrians", and need to bahve like peds to survive, and therefore should be subject to the same laws as peds, which is to say, basically none.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:03 pm

Whilst there is a law requiring a bell to be fitted, it doesn't stipulate where. You could fit one to your left chain stay if you really wanted too.

That being said I'm one of those rule following types, I have a bell, reflective tape, functioning brakes, lights and a helmet. I've even been known to ring my bell whilst racing.

Were these things not mandatory I'd probably still have them since there is no penalty in having them and there is the odd occasion when they are useful.

Cheers,

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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby biker jk » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:36 pm

There should be a regulation against toeclips.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:11 pm

biker jk wrote:There should be a regulation against toeclips.


There should be a regulation against cynical hecklers like you and TimW.

Besides, it's cleats that are the abomination.

You see, cleated shoes become part of the bike. Rather than the bike being an extension of the rider, the rider becomes an extension of the bike. You become slave to the machine. It's determining how it's used and even imposes a dress code -- you must wear these ridiculous shoes.

Are you familiar with the "rise of the machines" concept? This is where it starts. With an unquestioning obedience to rules and regulations and cleats.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby pacra » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:15 pm

I think some of the bike regulations regarding equipment are as a result of international conference and protocals (Vienna conference?? ... if someone knows could they correct me) and others are purely historic, eg lights between dusk and dawn.

I doubt that many police would have any idea themselves. Years ago when LED lights first came in I was pulled over by a cop who told me a flashing taillight was illegal and he could not work out what I was for a couple of hundred metres. Duh.

The regulations say nothing about using a bell or where it is fitted, mine is out of the way under the stem and virtually useless. Likewise I only have white reflecta tape on the seat stay with operating lights but no fixed red reflector.

A couple of years ago on St Kilda Road they safety checked bikes inbound to Melbourne CBD and they just looked at the brakes and lights and ignored the rest.

I'm waiting for the day when a cop with grudge against cyclists pulls out and learns all the forgotten regulations and goes to town.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby high_tea » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:17 pm

I don't mind the Mandatory Brake Law at all. Among others.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:22 pm

high_tea wrote:I don't mind the Mandatory Brake Law at all. Among others.


Yeah, i guess that one's tolerable, but tell me, are brakeless fixies therefore illegal?
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby high_tea » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:38 pm

pacra wrote:I think some of the bike regulations regarding equipment are as a result of international conference and protocals (Vienna conference?? ... if someone knows could they correct me) and others are purely historic, eg lights between dusk and dawn.



The obligation to treat a bicycle as a vehicle, you mean? I believe that's Art 3, para 5 of the Vienna Traffic Convention 1968, which reads:

Contracting Parties shall be bound to admit to their territories in
international traffic cycles and mopeds which fulfil the technical conditions laid
down in Chapter V of this Convention and whose drivers have their normal residence
in the territory of another Contracting Party. No Contracting Party shall require
the drivers of cycles or mopeds in international traffic to hold a driving permit;
however, Contracting Parties which have declared in conformity with Article 54,
paragraph 2, of this Convention that they treat mopeds as motor cycles may require
the drivers of mopeds in international traffic to hold a driving permit.


The whole thing's available at http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/conventn/crt1968e.pdf, if you're into that sort of thing.

(I doubt the citation above is strictly correct :oops: :oops: ).

It's worth pointing out, though, that treaties aren't enforceable, not really. Nobody could make Australia enact laws treating cyclists as drivers. It's a good idea to live up to the agreements you make as a country, but it's not absolutely mandatory. The occasional lapse gets overlooked (or tutted about) and that's pretty much that.


I'm waiting for the day when a cop with grudge against cyclists pulls out and learns all the forgotten regulations and goes to town.


Heh. I will now hang, in my happy place, a mental picture of Clint Eastwood getting all Dirty Harry on someone for over-using their bell. Where's the emoticon for "contented sigh" when you need it?
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby find_bruce » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:43 pm

Regulations that are not enforced - the list will be long and indistinguished.

What really takes the biscuit for me though it that most new bikes are required to comply with the "mandatory" part of Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1927: 1998 Pedal bicycles—Safety requirements published by Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand on 5 September 1998. This covers important safety items like having a brake and a steerer that does not snap like a twig

BUT

(1) it also includes items of minimal practical safety value such as wheel reflectors, pedal reflectors & chain guards -ask Avanti who were forced to do a major recall in 2011.

(2) the standard only applies at point of sale - there is no obligation to mainain any of the items from the moment the shop hands your bike over, nor are replacement parts required to comply - eg pedals on the bike at sale must have reflectors, new pedals sold have no such requirement.

(3) they don't apply at all to certain bikes - most people probably know about the exemption for bikes intended for use in competition, but the standards also do not apply to recumbents, tandems & folding bikes - yep buy yourself a clown bike & all bets are off. Mango owners in particular are no doubt relieved that they do not need reflectors on their fully enclosed wheels & pedals.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby Philipthelam » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:45 pm

TTar wrote:
high_tea wrote:I don't mind the Mandatory Brake Law at all. Among others.


Yeah, i guess that one's tolerable, but tell me, are brakeless fixies therefore illegal?


Illegal to ride on the road. Must have at least one working brake
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby bychosis » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:54 pm

IMO there are two types of cyclist (there are more but bear with me) that need two types of regulation.
1. The serious rider. Travels on the road at speed, wants to be part of the traffic and treated as such. Needs helmet, lights, reflectors etc but probably doesn't need a bell. Should be following road rules.
2. The recreational/cruiser rider. Doesn't like travelling on the road, travels on share paths and wants to be more like a pedestrian. Sees little reason for a helmet or other safety gear but needs to have a bell and know when to use it. Nt interested in following road rules because 'I'm not a car'

This has probably over simplified the issue, but when the law tries to take into account all types and 'encourage' safer actions we end up with a set of rules that tries to fit the middle ground and cover everyone equally.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby high_tea » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:55 pm

TTar wrote:
high_tea wrote:I don't mind the Mandatory Brake Law at all. Among others.


Yeah, i guess that one's tolerable, but tell me, are brakeless fixies therefore illegal?


Riding one on a road, or road-related area is, yeah. The definition of "road-related area" is pretty broad too.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby dagadgetman » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:58 pm

The shoes are only ridiculous when you try to use them as normal shoes, on the bike, they are excruciatingly practical.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby master6 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:59 pm

find_bruce wrote:(3) most people probably know about the exemption for bikes intended for use in competition,


I dont think this is true.
Please enlighten us. Where do we find proof of these exemptions :?:
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby high_tea » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:07 pm

find_bruce wrote:Regulations that are not enforced - the list will be long and indistinguished.

It's getting shorter, though. I wonder when someone was last convicted of carrying matches of the kind known as silent matches by night with intent to commit an indictable offence. That gem stayed on the books until quite recently.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby find_bruce » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:14 pm

master6 wrote:
find_bruce wrote:(3) most people probably know about the exemption for bikes intended for use in competition,

I dont think this is true.
Please enlighten us. Where do we find proof of these exemptions :?:

Wander into any LBS, you will notice the top end bikes are almost universally sold without pedals & without wheel reflectors
Trade Practices Act 1974 - Consumer Protection Notice No. 6 of 2004 - Consumer Product Safety Standard: Pedal Bicycles: Safety Requirements
Division 1: Particulars of the goods
Pedal bicycles, including fully assembled or partially assembled bicycles, but not including the following:
...
2. bicycles which are designed, promoted and supplied primarily for use in competition;
...
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby biker jk » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:23 pm

TTar wrote:
biker jk wrote:There should be a regulation against toeclips.


There should be a regulation against cynical hecklers like you and TimW.

Besides, it's cleats that are the abomination.

You see, cleated shoes become part of the bike. Rather than the bike being an extension of the rider, the rider becomes an extension of the bike. You become slave to the machine. It's determining how it's used and even imposes a dress code -- you must wear these ridiculous shoes.

Are you familiar with the "rise of the machines" concept? This is where it starts. With an unquestioning obedience to rules and regulations and cleats.


I think you have it upside down. You are tied to the machine with those crazy toeclips. A slave really. In contrast, I can clip out and separate from the machine at will. The first thing I did when I purchased my first road bike twenty three years ago was remove the toeclips. Free at last. Free at last.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:39 pm

dagadgetman wrote:The shoes are only ridiculous when you try to use them as normal shoes, on the bike, they are excruciatingly practical.


Exactly my point; they're part of the bike. They should be called pedal attachments, not shoes. Shoes are for walking or running or throwing at George W Bush.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby TTar » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:48 pm

biker jk wrote:
TTar wrote:
biker jk wrote:There should be a regulation against toeclips.


There should be a regulation against cynical hecklers like you and TimW.

Besides, it's cleats that are the abomination.

You see, cleated shoes become part of the bike. Rather than the bike being an extension of the rider, the rider becomes an extension of the bike. You become slave to the machine. It's determining how it's used and even imposes a dress code -- you must wear these ridiculous shoes.

Are you familiar with the "rise of the machines" concept? This is where it starts. With an unquestioning obedience to rules and regulations and cleats.


I think you have it upside down. You are tied to the machine with those crazy toeclips. A slave really. In contrast, I can clip out and separate from the machine at will. The first thing I did when I purchased my first road bike twenty three years ago was remove the toeclips. Free at last. Free at last.


Well, yeah. You make a valid point, except it could argued that cleats are still just as much a form of enslavement and the only way to overcome the oppression of too much cycling paraphernalia is to ride a unicycle.

And nobody in their right mind would argue for that.

This is a fight no one can win.
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Re: Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby find_bruce » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:04 pm

high_tea wrote:
find_bruce wrote:Regulations that are not enforced - the list will be long and indistinguished.

It's getting shorter, though. I wonder when someone was last convicted of carrying matches of the kind known as silent matches by night with intent to commit an indictable offence. That gem stayed on the books until quite recently.

I thought for a minute you were about to break into Priates of Penzance
Here's your crowbar and your centrebit, Your life-preserver — you may want to hit! Your silent matches, your dark lantern seize, Take your file and your skeletonic keys.

I hadn't heard of the offence you quoted - its a Qld thing - but was appalled that at the same time they abolished the offence of wearing slippers out at night. :D
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Bicycle regulations are stupid and pointless

Postby Dan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:09 pm

The wearing of slippers with cleats is however still a punishable offence.
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