A question from a motorist

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A question from a motorist

Postby BillWatson » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:30 pm

Hello forum
I would like to pose a question to the cycle community. But first I should state that I am not a cyclist, or attempting to cause any augments, only in search answers to what is probably a very inflammatory question, and thus ask for civil, intelligent answers, please no rhetoric or abusive comments.
I live on a stretch of road along the river in Perth which is used heavily by cyclists of all types, as well as runners, and families. From my front widow I have seen, and heard an increase in the abusive and aggressive behaviour of the “serious riders” who often cause a great deal of distress to the other uses of this area (and yes motorists can do this as well but this road sees very little vehicle traffic). Traffic control along this road has slowed cars, but not the cyclists. I have witnessed groups of cyclists forcing less gifted riders into the kerb as they charge their way past, or shout abuse at slower riders who cause them to reduce speed.

I have also seen an increase in serious traffic offences committed by “commuting cyclists” in peak hour traffic, and have even witnessed a motor vehicle accident caused by a cyclist. The accident I witnessed was a result of a commuter cyclist (although this is an assumption on my part) running red light and causing a car to jump on the brakes, this resulted in a rear end collision.

It is this incident that motivated me to seek the opinion of the Australian cycling community.

I own several vehicles and a boat, and all must be registered with the government (including the trailers, which are obviously not motorised). Now I have seen the arguments put forward and the general response from the cycling community to bicycle registration is that “we already pay with our car rego” this is true; However, one of the reasons why I have to register my vehicles (and trailers) is to be able to identify me (the driver) if I should do something wrong.
So finally my question,

Whith an increase in cycle trafic on the roads and dedicated cycle paths, what valid reasons are there for not having a registration system (i.e. bike licence plates)?

We as a society should promote cycling for many reasons, however, why should a cyclist not be able to be held accountable for any infringements or accidents they cause?
Once again I ask for civil, intelligent responses to the question.
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by BNA » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:52 pm

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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby The 2nd Womble » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:52 pm

Welcome Bill Watson to our humble forum. Unfortunately we're rhetoric-rich around here, but I urge you to read this thread. It does show that many of us have had a gutfull as well.
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=55374
feel free to jump over to Safe Cycling Australia and post this on our wall for constructive comment. I for one am a cyclist and a heavy vehicle driver, so I'm all ears regarding cyclist behaviour to a point, however I do not accept that all cyclists are the root of all tarsealed evil either, so please be a little diplomatic. Nothing so far has suggested otherwise from this post.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:06 pm

G'Day Bill.
Lemme see...

A Registration schemes for cyclists are not cost effective. (By a long shot.)
B No safe place to put a plate.
C A quick search of this or any other cyclist site will rapidly turn up umpteen dozen cases of riders reporting dangerous ratbaggery, including with supporting footage and being ignored as no police officer witnessed the offence.
(Polite side question) How many times have your rung the police to advise of motor vehicle infractions, including giving plate details? How many times have you been fobbed off?
D Typically, infractions by cyclists are by orders of magnitude much less likely to cause carnage. (This of course doesn't make it all right, it's just an observation.)
E Something that escapes me right now.

Now, wearing the magic helmet...
Play nice people. We do not need another reasonable motorist harbouring resentment owing to poor treatment in reply to a reasonable question.

Shaun
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby il padrone » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:13 pm

Hi Bill

BillWatson wrote:So finally my question,

Whith an increase in cycle trafic on the roads and dedicated cycle paths, what valid reasons are there for not having a registration system (i.e. bike licence plates)?

Simple answer - none!

As for making reports of infractions to Police and expecting results. I was at a student driver education session today. The topc of Police action in response to a collision came up, and I asked about the reports that Police do not take statements on property-only collisions. The answer - there is not enough time in the day for Police to take reports on every minor collision. Some twenty years ago when the responding instructor worked for RACV the number of daily collisions in Melbourne ?

Over 10,000. Yes that is per day :shock:
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby KenGS » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:34 pm

Welcome to the forum Bill.
Your question on registration is often asked and whilst it sounds reasonable you need to consider - How much would you charge?
Would you charge a child over $200 to register a $50 bike? If not, then how much?
Most of the cost of registration goes into administration. Would you be happy for the government to then be subsiding the registration to cover the administration costs?
In Victoria, my latest "rego" fee consisted of $232 actual registration, $422 TAC charge and $42 insurance duty. Do you think cyclist registration should include all those components?
The cost is broadly determined by the size of vehicle. A small car weighs nearly 2 tonnes (2000 kg), a bike maybe 15kg if its a heavy one. Should a bike cost only $2 to register - in proportion to its kerb mass? Would that cover the cost of registration plates even?
The TAC charge covers the cost of road trauma caused by motor vehicles. This is roughly in proportion to kinetic energy. The kinetic energy of a bike is about 1/1000th of that of a motor car as it is a function of mass and speed. So should cyclists therefore pay 46 cents TAC charge and insurance duty? And note that by doing so, any injury incurred by a cyclist would therefore be covered, even if self inflicted as the TAC system is "no fault".

For all the above reasons, governments have consistently stated they will never introduce registration for bicycles. It is not cost effective and opens up a whole can of worms for them. There are many other reasons but they would just get emotions up unnecessarily.

I do not dismiss what you say about bad behaviour. But I'd ask you to consider that bad behaviour is not a function of being a cyclist but is an unfortunate aspect of human nature that is independent of the mode of transport. Indeed, your first example of groups of cyclists abusing slower cyclists shows that. I think you will find that these sort of people are very much the minority, whether on two wheels or four, but their behaviour makes them very visible.

What I would ask you to do is to pay attention to the well behaved cyclists also.
--Ken
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Percrime » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:40 pm

You can get a bike registration plate.. a single one to go on the bike rack.. from vic roads in victoria. You know of which I mean? A smaller extra car plate? They cost about $25 without any mount. They are supposed to sell at cost. So no.. $2 is not going to cut it.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:42 pm

Ahhh, now I got it.

E If police detect a cyclist infringement then intercept, he gets booked just like any other vehicle.

The only form of enforcement avoidable by lack of plate is camera offences. It isn't our fault if there isn't enough visible police presence on the road.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby The 2nd Womble » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:44 pm

Mulger, point "E" needs work.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby rkelsen » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:52 pm

BillWatson wrote:Whith an increase in cycle trafic on the roads and dedicated cycle paths, what valid reasons are there for not having a registration system (i.e. bike licence plates)?

Cost is the biggest reason. Currently, bikes outsell cars 2 to 1 in Australia. Registration bureaus around the country are barely able to cope with the number of car registrations. Imagine what it would be like if they had to cope with 3 times the number of registrations they currently do. One of the state governments investigated this (can't remember which one, but I think it may have been SA), and found that it would be far too costly for little/no benefit.
BillWatson wrote:why should a cyclist not be able to be held accountable for any infringements or accidents they cause?

Ah, but they are. Run a Google search on the phrase "cyclist charged" and see how many results you get. Don't forget that it is far more difficult for a cyclist to "flee the scene" than someone with >100hp under their right foot...

Besides, registration doesn't automatically make people accountable for their actions. I see dozens of registered vehicles breaking the law every day.
Last edited by rkelsen on Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Oxford » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:02 pm

Bill, can I ask you if you are similarly outraged at the level of carnage and the economic cost caused by motor vehicles and their occupants? If not why not? Statistically, what you are witnessing is so very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Check out the statistics of how many people were killed and/or injured by bicycle riders causing the death compared to motor vehicles. I cannot recall the last death caused by a cyclist, motor vehicle deaths are almost acceptable statistics now.

As for the rego argument yes trailers have no motors, but they are attached to something that does. Most motorised forms of transportation (including the attached trailer) are capable of carnage and destruction far and above what a bicycle is capable of. Registration doesn't stop motorists breaking the law and causing carnage, do you think its a magical solution to cyclists breaking the law?
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby rkelsen » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:13 pm

Oxford wrote:Bill, can I ask you if you are similarly outraged at the level of carnage and the economic cost caused by motor vehicles and their occupants? If not why not? Statistically, what you are witnessing is so very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Check out the statistics of how many people were killed and/or injured by bicycle riders causing the death compared to motor vehicles. I cannot recall the last death caused by a cyclist, motor vehicle deaths are almost acceptable statistics now.

Good point Oxford. On average, motorists kill more people in 24 hours than cyclists have killed in the last 2 decades.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:28 pm

The 2nd Womble wrote:Mulger, point "E" needs work.

Oh? I believe the point was validly made, if a little poorly structured. Feel free to improve upon it.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:29 pm

BTW...
You are!
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Percrime » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:33 pm

Light trailers in VIctoria (6ft * 4) do not have to be registered.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby il padrone » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:48 pm

And said 'light' trailers weigh at least 10 times what my bike weighs, even when it has camping gear for a week on board.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Percrime » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:05 pm

il padrone wrote:And said 'light' trailers weigh at least 10 times what my bike weighs, even when it has camping gear for a week on board.


In fact the one I have out the back weighs 250 kg empty At least.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:07 pm

Percrime wrote:Light trailers in VIctoria (6ft * 4) do not have to be registered.


But they do have to be plated. It has to be the same as the towing vehicle.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby Percrime » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:08 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
Percrime wrote:Light trailers in VIctoria (6ft * 4) do not have to be registered.


But they do have to be plated. It has to be the same as the towing vehicle.


Nope. Not if they dont block the rego plate on the towing vehicle from being visible from directly behind. But yes usually they should be.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:19 pm

As you can see above, there are many reasons why registration for bikes is not going to happen. But there are 2 reasons above and beyond all else why.

From the government's perspective- Rego for bikes will discourage people from cycling. Why are cyclists allowed to ride on the road, in bike lanes AND on the footpath? (in certain states). Because having those options makes cycling as transport more attractive. And more people getting about on bikes means less money to be spent on roads, public transport, health, less pollution, less reliance on oil blah blah blah.

From a motorists perspective- When was the last time you saw a motorbike breaking the law? For me it was about 6 hours ago, overtaking 3 cars over unbroken lines, going into a blind corner, at about 140kmh. But motorbikes are registered so i can get his number and report him. NOT A CHANCE. The plates on motorbikes are, by necessity, tiny, and all but impossible to read when they are moving. Plates for bicycles would probably be even smaller. Even if a cyclist was registered, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to get that number.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby ZepinAtor » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:43 pm

ldrcycles wrote: Plates for bicycles would probably be even smaller. Even if a cyclist was registered, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to get that number.


Especially if you reached back & covered it with your hand while waving at the red light camera with the other.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby BillWatson » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:26 pm

Thank you for all your comments.
Would like to morrow the focus of the discussion,
I still have not seen a valid reason (aside from cost, which would be significant) for not registering bikes.

I do not suggest that children should be required to have their bike registered, in the same wat that no reasonable person suggest that they ride on a busy street, perhaps a frame size classification would help here.

If I see some one driving dangerously I can, and will report them to police. So why can't I have this option for cyclists?
Also accidents on the bike paths are increasing, a push bike at speed can cause horrific injuries to a pedestrian.

I may have to re read the replies but it seams from other posts in this forum, that cyclists want to take motor its to task for bad behaviour, to the point of posting video online, but do not want to be held accountable themselves.

We need to encourage cycling, but if I a cyclist does something wrong, or abuss a person or causes harm or damage, either directly or indirectly, then there should be a way to track that person down.

So bearing in mind that there are an increasing number of incidents on the shared bike paths, what is the argument against registration of road bikes above a certain size?

Please forgive the grammatical errors from an old bloke on a tablet pc.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby il padrone » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:43 pm

BillWatson wrote:We need to encourage cycling, but if I a cyclist does something wrong, or abuss a person or causes harm or damage, either directly or indirectly, then there should be a way to track that person down.

Hmm.... :?

We need to encourage walking, but if I a pedestrian does something wrong, or abuses a person or causes harm or damage, either directly or indirectly, then there should be a way to track that person down.

Boot, foot, other side. Where do you draw the line?


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BillWatson wrote:what is the argument against registration of road bikes above a certain size?

The strong case needs to be presented to answer the other question - what is the argument that demands that such an imposition on ordinary people is really necessary?
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby BillWatson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:01 am

If I may I would like to pose a couple of hypothetical for general discussion

1. On a nice sunny day on a a shared bike path a mother and young child are walking along the left hand side of the path. 2 cyclists riding two abreast, and at speed , fly past and without sounding their bell. One of the riders hits the small child with his peddle causing very bad injuries. Then races on without stopping. Question, how is the mother to hold the cyclist to account for this?

2. During peak hour a driver moves a bit too close to a cyclist (without any malice). While this is to be considered dangerous, no harm was done. However, the cyclist is having a bad day and as he approaches her at the next lights he hurls abuse and kicks in her door and breaks off her mirror. He then races off ahead of the slow moving traffic. Once again how is this person able to hold the cyclist to account?

If these incidents were to occur in a motor vehicle (which they do, and more often than with cyclists), then it may be possible to get the registration and let the police deal with them, however, at present it is impossible to hold a cyclist accountable, without either physically stopping them, or worse, chasing them though the streets.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby il padrone » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:15 am

Firstly - the standard practice for any criminal offence. Witness statements, descriptions of offenders, descriptions of vehicles, questioning in the area, appeals for information etc. Nothing new there.

Secondly - sometimes s*** happens. I never got any recompense from the nasty turd who ripped me off for $20,000+ on a shonky housing investment, despite a court finding in our favour and sheriff's orders for payment. Shelf company in the name of his dog, folded up and he went on to other rip-offs. Sadly there is not always a happy resolution.

But a few such incidents (fairly infrequent I'd guess) is insufficient to persecute millions with enforced ID.
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Re: A question from a motorist

Postby ILMB » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:25 am

Thank you BillWatson for posting your topic. I can see an interesting discussion happening and hope it remains civil.

I am both a motorist and a cyclist, and for one would be ok with placing a copy of my vehicle license plate on my bike. Of course it would end up being very small and probably difficult to read at speed, but I suppose better than nothing, and would provide identification if needed. (Hopefully never)

As to actually separately registering every bike... I can't see that being a goer for all the reasons stated above. Also, some cycling enthusiasts collect bikes and have a garage full. Presumambly each would have to be separately registered which could end up prohibitive.
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