'New cycling laws could put our lives in danger'
SUNSHINE Coast Cycling Club president Craig King believes bike riders will be putting their lives in danger if they take advantage of all the new rights given to them on January 1.
Under new laws, cyclists no longer have to ride on the far left side of single-lane roundabouts and are not bound to cycle lanes.
Mr King welcomed the changes but said people would be crazy to blindly take advantage of them.
"I know I can go out there and legally do it one way, but in the end if a cyclist gets hit a cyclist comes off second best, so it is to your benefit to ride defensively regardless of what the laws are," he said.
"I think everyone needs to ride a lot more defensively to be safer on the roads."
The laws were introduced to make it clear what cyclists could do on roads.
Now cyclists will be able to choose whether they want to ride in a bicycle lane where one is provided.
They can also ride on any part of the road while on single-lane roundabouts and can use zebra crossings without dismounting as long as they come to a complete stop first.
Mr King supports the new laws but believes most are useless without far-reaching awareness campaigns.
"People need to become educated," he said.
"New laws are great but the actual awareness program, which would be ads on TV and stuff like that, that's where the real difference comes in."
Until that happens he is advising cyclists to ride in the most defensive way possible.
"When I talk to a lot of people in the club, especially new riders, I say to them: take on an opinion that every car driver has not seen you," he said.
"At roundabouts, take out the fact you have right of way and slow down until you have got eye contact and you know 100% they (drivers) are going to give way. Until then, pretend they are going to do the wrong thing.
"This is a slow process," he said. "People's attitudes aren't going to change because they make a law. There's still a lot of people who don't like sharing roads.
"Attitudes will change over time, no doubt, but they aren't going to change because on the 1st of January a law came in."