Sydney cyclists are angry. On Friday morning, they held a protest ride against the New South Wales government’s move to impose compulsory identification on adult cycle riders. They are equally miffed with the new fines coming up in March.
In the mass ride, more than 100 Sydney cyclists participated. They rode from Taylor Square in Darlinghurst to Martin Place and were escorted by police. Under the new rules starting in March, riding a bicycle without an ID will be an offence. Violators will attract a fine of 106. Similarly, not wearing a helmet will cost a bicycle rider $319. Jumping the red light will bring a hefty fine of $425, reports ABC News.
Addressing the protest rally, Donald Semken, the main organiser said, “We are here because compulsory ID does not stop us hearing these damn words: ‘Sorry I did not see you mate.” He said he cannot understand how an increase in fines and a compulsory ID would make cyclists safer. “It is a huge problem … when people get behind the wheels of a car they fail to see us as human beings,” Semken said.
The new rules and penalties were announced by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay. It is being projected as the NSW government’s drive to crackdown on cyclists who were allegedly breaking road rules. NSW director of the Centre for Road Safety Transport, Bernard Carlton said the move is an important step in ensuring safety. He noted that NSW has been witnessing an average 11 cyclist fatalities every year and 1,500 cyclists were being admitted to hospital every year for injuries. Carlton said cyclists would be certainly stopped by the police for checking their identity if they found breaking road rules.
Meanwhile, a group of Muslim women in Sydney formed a cyclists group named Sydney Cycling Sisters. In the past, many Muslim women had to give up bicycle ride after Islamophobia flared up. That deterred them from participating fully within the community. Sydney Cycling Sisters is a group of Muslim women who want go on rides around NSW, reports Daily Telegraph.
The initiative followed the group’s founder Cindy Rahal research, which found many Muslim women being reluctant to go out fearing Islamophobic attitudes. “At the time, we had the Abbott government and there was a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment,” Rahal said.
She added that many Muslim women would only shop with their husbands and considered moving around at night as risky. The Sydney Cycling Sisters is now encouraging women from the Canterbury-Bankstown region to get back to their activities, which they had to suspend fearing anti-Muslim sentiments.