Australia toughens penalties for cyclists

Sydney, March 1 (IANS) Australia has imposed some of the world’s toughest laws on cyclists to protect them from accidents, the media reported on Tuesday.

According to the new laws in New South Wales (NSW) state, motorists will need to stay at least a metre away from cyclists or be charged 319 Australian dollars ($228), Xinhua news agency reported.

Cyclists, who are some of the most vulnerable road users, will also have to play their part.

They will be fined 425 Australian dollars for crossing a red light or riding dangerously.

As Australians are encouraged to take up to cycles to commute to work, there has been a wide ranging call for increased protection of bike riders.

“On an average, 11 bicycle riders are killed and 1,500 are seriously injured every year in NSW. The injuries of cyclists have increased with more than 1,800 bicycle riders admitted to hospital following crashes on the road network in 2014,” NSW Road Safety Director, Bernard Carlon said.

“This package is an important move towards improving safety for all road users, especially bicycle riders. We want to ensure that all bicycle riders feel safe and they, motorists, and pedestrians can share our roads safely and with confidence,” he added.

Professor of Road Safety Raphael Grzebieta said that the new laws would be implemented in other states if they help in reducing the number of accidents.

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