Position Statements

Bicycle Queensland’s Advocacy Statement

Bicycle Queensland (BQ) is committed to working with its members and the wider community to break down barriers to bicycle riding and create a state where everyone can enjoy riding safely for transport, recreation or sport – regardless of age, ability or location.

Riding a bike is an intrinsic part of our world that is often undervalued. BQ believes in and promote the health, social, economic, and environmental benefits of bicycle riding. We actively champion bike riding as an efficient and cost-effective means of transport, which
directly contributes to the development of a healthier Queensland.

BQ creates change by:

BQ’s target actions areas 2020 – 2030
1. Infrastructure
2. Through our Commuter Harmony Alliance brand and partners improve the safety of all Queensland bike riders as we
3. Policy Reviews and changes to
4. Tourism

The more voices we can count, the stronger we are when speaking up for riders across our state. We are here to make change happen where you live and ride. Become a member today.

To download the Advocacy Statement in PDF format click here.


Bicycle Queensland Position Statement – Demerit Points

Demerit points for cycling-related traffic infringements – What is Bicycle Queensland’s position?

Bicycle Queensland rejects the idea of demerit points for cycling-related infringements and supports Queensland’s current laws, whereby cyclists who break the road rules are issued with fines but not
demerit points.

Why?
The purpose of Queensland’s demerit point systems is to identify, deter, and penalise motor vehicle drivers who disobey traffic laws, while streamlining the legal process, to make Queensland roads safer.

Under the system, a person must hold a driver’s licence to have points demerited.

Importantly, the demerit system enables the enforcement of road safety standards in order to remove careless and irresponsible drivers from Queensland roads, given the higher consequent risks associated with dangerous driving compared to non-motorised forms of transport, such as cycling or walking.


Cyclists are not required to hold or carry a driver licence, and therefore issuing demerit points for cycling-related infringements would conflict with existing laws. Moreover, the introduction of a
scheme to regulate bike riding would be prohibitively costly, and unacceptable to taxpayers.


Consider, for example, how authorities would manage a situation where a cyclist loses all of their ‘points’, would it be a responsible use of taxpayer funding for authorities to suspend the cyclist from riding their bike? And do the relative risks warrant such an action?

What are the current Queensland laws?

Bicycle riders must follow a very clear set of rules while cycling on Queensland roads and paths. If a cyclist breaks the rules, they may receive a fine, but no demerit points are given. For more information on the road rules and how they apply to bike riders, click here. For more information on Queensland’s demerit points schedule, click here.

Do other jurisdictions issue demerit points to cyclists?
No.


Bicycle Queensland Position Statement – Bicycle Registration

Registration for bike riders – What is Bicycle Queensland’s position?
Bicycle Queensland rejects the idea of registration for bike riders.

Why?

The significant costs to taxpayers of a registration scheme would far outweigh the limited benefits. Evidence suggests that a registration scheme would stop the rise of active transport and do little to improve road safety.

In Queensland, and other Australian states, and most jurisdictions internationally, bicycles are given unique recognition under the law to reflect their priority importance in a more sustainable transport
system.

How does Bicycle Queensland respond to claims that because cyclists do not pay bicycle registration they are not contributing to the cost of road infrastructure?

Council rates and federal taxes, such as Australia’s Goods and Services Tax, are the main sources of revenue for road infrastructure – not motor vehicle registration fees.


Notably, more than 80% of cyclists also pay car registration.


All cyclists, when they ride, reduce the impact of motor vehicles on road infrastructure, and save the community $0.60 for each kilometre they ride instead of driving.

What is the purpose of motor vehicle registration and why is a registration scheme not suitable for cyclists?

Motor vehicle registration ensures the capture and storage of accurate and secure vehicle records, allowing the Department of Transport and Main Roads to identify registered vehicle operators and better manage Queensland’s road networks.

Registration also enables the enforcement of road safety standards in order to remove defective and dangerous vehicles from Queensland roads. Queensland’s registration scheme also allows authorities to manage driver behaviour in accordance with the law, given the higher risks associated with dangerous driving compared to non-motorised forms of transport, such as cycling or walking. The introduction of a registration scheme for cyclists would be tremendously costly for all taxpayers.


Do other jurisdictions have registration schemes to identify cyclists?
No, and the consensus among Governments and peak motoring groups, such as the RACQ, is that a bicycle registration scheme is not the solution to road safety or improved compliance with the law.


Bicycle Queensland Position Statement – Presumed Liability Laws

Presumed Liability Laws – What is Bicycle Queensland’s position?

Bicycle Queensland supports Presumed Liability Laws and recommends they be introduced in Queensland.

Why?

We need to do more to protect vulnerable road users. Evidence suggests drivers are at fault in at least 80% of road crashes involving a cyclist and a motor vehicle. Presumed Liability Laws would reduce dangerous driving, save costs on consumers, and increase uptake of active transport.

What are the current Queensland laws?

Under current Queensland laws, cyclists and other vulnerable road users must lodge a claim against the motorist to be compensated under compulsory third-party insurance. If the insurance company rejects the claim, the cyclist is forced to file a costly, distressing, and time-consuming civil claim. Most claims drag on for months, many remain unsettled for years.

How would this change with Presumed Liability Laws?

In the event of an accident involving a motor vehicle and a vulnerable road user, such as a cyclist, the driver’s liability would automatically be covered by compulsory third-party insurance. Drivers would need to demonstrate that they were not responsible for the accident to avoid liability.

Why should we change current laws?

1. Compensation claims would be resolved more quickly and easily, aligning with Queensland’s compulsory third-party insurance scheme, reducing costs on taxpayers, and easing demand on the court system.

2. With awareness of Presumed Liability Laws, drivers would exercise greater care and drive more carefully, reducing accidents and making our roads safer.

3. People would feel safer to walk and cycle more often – international evidence shows a strong link between Presumed Liability Laws and active transport.

4. Litigation and insurance costs would fall, due to swift and fair compensation – saving individuals, insurers, and the community much-needed time and money.

But, why?

Because our existing fault-based system favours the more powerful and not the most vulnerable.

Carriage of the law would be improved by recognising that the driver is at fault in the overwhelming majority of road crashes involving a cyclist.

How would it work in practice?

In the event of an accident, the cyclist would submit a claim for compensation with the car driver’s insurer. Unless the driver can prove they were not at fault, the claim for compensation would be settled quickly and easily, avoiding the distress that both parties commonly experience.

In all accidents, the police should be called to the scene to investigate.

Do other jurisdictions have Presumed Liability Laws?

Yes, Presumed Liability Laws are in practice in most western European countries and in other countries around the world including New Zealand, India, and China. In Europe, France has had Presumed Liability Laws since 1985, Denmark since the mid-1980s, the Netherlands since the early 1990s, and Italy since 1996.

Do motor vehicle insurance companies support Presumed Liability Laws?

The default position of motor vehicle insurance companies in any accident is to deny liability, so most reject the suggestion of presumed liability laws.

Under presumed liability laws, those who stand to lose the most are law firms and insurance investigators.

The overall costs of claims and payouts, and the time taken to settle payouts, would in all likelihood decrease.

With all due respect to these companies, Bicycle Queensland would welcome sensible discussion about presumed liability laws and how these laws could benefit all Queenslanders.

Many other advanced countries have successfully introduced presumed liability laws – they are worthy of our consideration and would go a long way to improving road safety and ending the tragic death toll of road crashes.

What will Bicycle Queensland do to promote Presumed Liability Laws?

Bicycle Queensland has recommended the introduction of Presumed Liability Laws to the Queensland Government, and will publicly call for their introduction at every appropriate opportunity.


Bicycle Queensland Position Statement – Climate Change

Climate change threatens our current way of life and economy, as well as our health and the natural environment that cyclists treasure. Bicycle Queensland (BQ) recognises there is clear scientific evidence climate change is creating a health emergency. BQ commits to working with government agencies and other organisations to prioritise actions to:

Role of cycling in managing climate risk

BQ as a cycling advocacy organisation is working to help lead mobility aspects of this transition. Promotion of active transport has the mutual benefit of reducing carbon emissions and reducing pollution-related health disease. While much change requires government lead policy and systems change at a personal level transport is a key component to emissions and changing the way we travel can have a significant impact. The Australian Automobile Association suggests 80% of our motorists are concerned about the impact of cars on our environment.

How cycling can contribute to decarbonise transport

Cycling is a zero carbon and healthy way to travel, from both personal and community health and pollution perspectives. We know many commuting trips people make in their cars are of 5km or less:

There is a lot of work estimating the contribution cycling can make to reduced greenhouse emissions – the European Cycling Federation estimates one commuter who rides 8km to work x 4 days a week saves the planet from 750kg CO2 emissions and over 3,300km of driving annually. In addition to the carbon saved the benefits include:

BQ put forward cycling as a zero carbon option in the ongoing transitional adaption, shifts in attitudes and perceptions necessary to make our communities safe and sustainable for the future.

Our actions

BQ is working with governments to contribute to the changes we need to make. We would like this to be faster – our cities need to be sustainable and contribute to the health of the planet.

Advocacy

How we are minimising our own carbon footprint

Engaging constructively with stakeholders

Recent drought and bushfires have highlighted the vulnerability of ecosystems and our communities to climate variability. We need to act urgently to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt and build resilience in our communities.

Evidence

In 2015, the World Health Organisation assessed climate change as “the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century”. We acknowledge the Paris Agreement with its aims of limiting increases in global temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Panel Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees has found to limit temperature increases our communities need to transit to zero greenhouse gas emission by mid-century. Climate change threatens the future of our way of life and economy, as well as our health and the natural environment that cyclists treasure.

Transport globally is responsible for much greenhouse gas emission – 24% of emissions in Europe, just lower than the 29% of emissions attributable to the energy sector; road transport alone contributes 20% of all greenhouse emissions in Europe. In addition, emissions from energy industries are falling faster than those from change in the transport sector. Urban centres are heat islands – almost 90% of

Australians live in urban areas, putting our communities at greater risk of heat-related disease and pollution. The health communities in Australia and globally are increasing their call for change. Currently in Australia pollution accounts for 1.5% of deaths annually and air pollution from motor vehicles and coal-fired powered generation costs of over AU $2.5 billion a year.

References viewable here.


Bicycle Queensland Position Statement – Mandatory Helmet Laws

What is Bicycle Queensland’s position?

Bicycle Queensland supports mandatory helmet laws and recommends existing laws be retained and supported by strategies to normalise helmet wearing.

Why?

Helmets make bike riding safer by helping to prevent head, brain, and facial injuries. Wearing a helmet reduces all head injuries in the event of an accident by about 69%, and serious head injuries by about 74%, including skull fractures and inter-cranial injury and bleeding in the brain. This is true even when a motor vehicle is involved in an accident with a cyclist. Helmet wearing also reduces the likelihood of injury to the upper and mid-face by 65%.

What are the current Queensland laws?

Under current Queensland laws, you must wear an Australian Standard (AS) approved bicycle helmet when you ride a bike. The helmet must be securely fitted and fastened. An approved bicycle helmet means a helmet that complies with AS 2063 or AS/NZS 2063. When carrying a passenger on a bicycle, they must also wear an approved helmet, securely fitted and fastened. However, if they are a paying passenger on a 3 or 4 wheeled bicycle, they do not have to wear a helmet. You do not need to wear a helmet if you have a doctor’s certificate stating that, for a specific amount of time, you cannot wear a helmet for medical reasons or because of a physical characteristic that makes it unreasonable for you to wear one. If you have a doctor’s certificate, you must carry it with you when you ride without a helmet. You also do not need to wear a helmet if you are a member of a religious group and are wearing a headdress customarily worn by your group, that makes it impractical to wear a helmet.

Do other jurisdictions have mandatory helmet laws?

Mandatory helmet laws were introduced in all Australian jurisdictions in the early 1990s as a road safety initiative aimed at reducing the severity of head injuries. The Northern Territory subsequently introduced an amendment to its laws in 1994 which exempted cyclists over the age of 17 when riding along footpaths and dedicated cycle paths. Internationally, very few jurisdictions mandate the use of bicycle helmets for non-competitive cyclists, although in some jurisdictions they are compulsory for children.

Do mandatory helmet laws stop people from cycling?

There is no definitive evidence that shows mandatory helmet laws stop people from cycling in Queensland. More research is needed to determine the validity of claims made by some anti-helmet groups that mandatory helmet laws discourage people from cycling. Current evidence suggests the main barriers to more people riding bikes are concerns about safety, particular mixing with motorised traffic, and a lack of safe places to ride. In this environment, reducing mandated safety equipment would not be beneficial.

If mandatory helmet laws do discourage people from cycling, what is Bicycle Queensland’s position on this?

Bicycle Queensland would like to see stronger public investment in strategies to promote the normalisation of helmet wearing and safe cycling. Throughout history public health campaigns have helped to improve safety and minimise the likelihood and occurrence of harm. Examples include the introduction of seat belts in cars, sun smart campaigns to prevent skin cancer, and education on mandatory vaccinations.

What will Bicycle Queensland do to promote compliance with mandatory helmet laws?

Bicycle Queensland will publicly support mandatory helmet laws at every appropriate opportunity and will continue to routinely feature helmets in promotional material for events and rider education programs.


Bicycle Queensland Position Statement – Lower Urban Speed Limits

Bicycle Queensland supports a statewide change to reduce speed limits on local streets in built-up areas 

Why? 

Because lower urban speed limits (40km/h or slower) save lives. As a society we have already agreed that reducing speed limits to 40km/h is an appropriate and important safety measure, because we mandate it in School Zones, even on busy arterial roads. 

40km/h or less is necessary to implement the Safe Systems approach, which acknowledges that road users will make mistakes and that the road system should be designed to accommodate these mistakes. (1) 

A central concept of the Safe Systems approach is the recognition that, whatever the road and traffic environment, a speed can be set below which the consequences of road user mistakes will not be death or serious injury. 

Above 30 km/h the risk of death or serious injury in a pedestrian crash increases rapidly. In Australia, speeds are often restricted in these locations to 40 km/h, although most leading European jurisdictions have adopted 30 km/h as a more appropriate speed. (2) 

Reducing speed limits on locals streets to 40km/h or even 30 km/h on local streets (those without a centre line) is a simple step the State Government can take towards its stated Vision Zero goals. A recent evaluation report prepared for Transport for NSW showed that both the number of crashes and the severity of injuries arising from those crashes are substantially lower when the speed limit is 40 km/h or less. (2) 

 I’m against lower speed limits because it will take me longer to get places in my car. What do you say about that? 

Well, that’s probably not true in Queensland’s larger cities. Average speeds on Brisbane’s key Council arterial roads during peak hours are less than 30km/h anyway, so lower speed limits on local streets would match the already low speeds on arterials. (3) 

What does the rest of the world think? What is the “best practice”? 

The Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety (from the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety) says that Governments should “… mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner, except where strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe, noting that efforts to reduce speed in general will have a beneficial impact on air quality and climate change as well as being vital to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries.” (4) 

What’s going to happen in Queensland? 

The State Government’s Road Safety Action Plan 2020-21 includes 200 more School Zones in the next two years, and to “implement lower speed limits in at least 20 locations over two years in areas of high active transport user activity. Undertake monitoring and evaluation and publish case studies.” (5) 

Bicycle Queensland supports these two measures, and we are confident that the resulting case studies will draw the same conclusions as the NSW study. Lower urban speed limits save lives. Change the 50 km/h speed limit to 40 km/h today! 

Sources: 

1. Safe Systems approach. https://www.roadsafety.gov.au/nrss/safe-system 

2. Evaluation of 40 km/h Speed Limits, prepared for the Centre for Road Safety, Transport for NSW. https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/downloads/evaluation-40kmh-speed-limits.pdf 

3. Traffic speed on Brisbane key road corridors. https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/traffic-and-transport/traffic-management/greater-brisbane-key-corridors-performance-report/greater-brisbane-key-corridors-performance-january-june-2019 

4. The Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety. https://www.roadsafetysweden.com/about-the-conference/stockholm-declaration/ 

5. Queensland Road Safety Action Plan 2020-21 (see page 14). https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/-/media/Safety/roadsafety/Strategy-and-action-plans/Qld-Road-Safety-Action-Plan-202021.pdf?la=en 


Bicycle Queensland Position Statement – Heavy Vehicles and Vulnerable Road Users

Bicycle Queensland supports mandatory measures to increase the safety of heavy vehicles, infrastructure improvements which allow for heavy vehicles and bike riders to co-exist, and further education campaigns for heavy vehicle drivers and the general public including bike riders.

There is deep and on-going concern within the cycling community about the safety of vulnerable road users around heavy vehicles, with too many fatalities too fresh in our collective memory.

Bicycle Queensland calls on the Federal and State Governments to implement measures to reduce the risk to vulnerable road and path users that is caused by the operation of heavy vehicles, especially, but not only in urban areas.

We recognise that the owners and operators of heavy vehicles have commercial and regulatory constraints which means that change within the industry will take many years without Government intervention.

BQ’s proposed mandatory mirrors on bonneted trucks will help prevent blind spots.

Vehicle safety improvements

For the 2020 Queensland election, Bicycle Queensland called on the Federal and State Governments to work together towards the following safety improvements to the heavy vehicle fleet.

  1. Conventional bonneted trucks typically have a massive blind spot forward of the bonnet, up to 12 metres. A bonnet mirror, fitted for $200, can provide improved visibility for heavy vehicle drivers, which leads to safer operation. We request that bonnet mirrors be made mandatory equipment for all conventional bonneted trucks, and that the State fund these mirrors for all operators on a means-tested basis. (Total cost in Queensland: less than $1 mil).
  2. Safety camera systems fore and aft in the cab, and wide-angle cameras mounted on left and right mirror enable review of truck operations, both in real time over the internet, but also  post-incident for learning and training. We request that the State offers 50-50 funding with heavy vehicle operators on cost of camera systems, up to $2500 per vehicle. (Total cost in Queensland approx. $12.5 mil).

  3. Bicycle Queensland requests that State-funded projects require all contractors to use heavy vehicles which meet these standards, with mitigation for blind spots and cameras to record all interactions. We believe this it is imperative that the State Government lead in encouraging the logistics sector to adopt the currently available safety improvements, most of which have not been installed by independent contractors.
  4. Side under-run protection is now common on newer heavy vehicles, but with the existing fleet having a service life up to 20 years, there are still thousands of heavy vehicles without side under-run protection. Bicycle Queensland requests that the Federal Transport Minister institute a cost-effective scheme to encourage heavy vehicle owners and operators to invest in under-run protection.

Infrastructure design

Bicycle Queensland supports the implementation of infrastructure improvements which recognise that heavy vehicles and bike riders need to continue to co-exist on the roads of Queensland.

Section 5 of the Queensland Department for Transport and Main Roads’ Guidelines on Bicycles and Heavy Vehicles lists appropriate counter-measures. These counter-measures in infrastructure design (Table 5.2) will reduce the risk created by heavy vehicles sharing the road with bike riders.

Bicycle Queensland calls on both TMR and Queensland LGAs to ensure that their road and path networks take note of these design counter-measures, and urgently implements them in areas where bike riders and heavy vehicles co-exist.

Education campaigns

Bicycle Queensland’s Commuter Harmony Alliance initiative was brought into being as a strategy to encourage all stakeholders to work together towards safer transport systems, recognising that vulnerable road users face the highest risk, but also that our transport systems exact a massive toll on the community in trauma and fatalities every year.

As part of the Commuter Harmony Alliance,  Bicycle Queensland is working with representatives of the heavy vehicle/logistics industry to develop educational resources that bridge the gap between heavy vehicle operators and vulnerable road users.

BQ calls on the State Government to fund education campaigns that work towards the Commuter Harmony Alliance’s goals.

For further reading:

Transport and Main Roads Guidelines on Bicycles and Heavy Vehicles (2019): https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/-/media/busind/techstdpubs/Cycling/Guideline-Bicycles-and-heavy-vehicles.pdf?la=en

Bicycle Queensland 2020 State election priorities https://bq.org.au/news/bicycle-queensland-priorities-for-2020-state-election/

Bicycle Queensland letter to Federal Transport Minister, July 2020. https://bq.org.au/news/bq-asks-deputy-prime-minister-to-improve-heavy-vehicle-safety/

Bicycle Queensland education resources for heavy vehicle interactions with bike riders:http://www.quiz-maker.com/QU1GKIEY

Commuter Harmony Alliance https://bq.org.au/advocacy/commuter-harmony-alliance/

Construction Logistics and Community Safety Australia – a practical guide.