Bayside Council’s “silly nanny-state” move to introduce licences for cyclists “got smashed” by fellow councils, according to outspoken opponent Stephen Mayne.
At the state council of the Municipal Association of Victoria on May 16, Bayside Council’s controversial push for bike registration and/or rider licensing was voted down by 86 per cent.
“The proposal was overwhelmingly rejected and even looked like struggling for a seconder until the Knox delegate reluctantly agreed,” said Cr Mayne, a member of Melbourne City Council.
“It was the most opposed motion out of the 55 debated at state council and there was a very long queue of people lining up to speak against it.”
Bayside Council believed registration or licensing would help police and the public identify cyclists involved in an accident or flouting road rules, and improve safety for all road users.
Mayor Laurence Evans said the council accepted that the idea was not supported, but it would continue to advocate for improved safety.
“The council’s motion included education and we strongly urge the state government to increase awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists,” he said.
For Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kathy Watt, rider education is the key to improving safety, not licensing or registration.
“Being aware of the dangers, being prepared for them, watching for signs of car doors opening, ignoring the rudeness of some drivers, obeying the road rules, [learning] how to cycle in bunches, keeping your head up at all times … Riding is much more than simply hopping on a bike,” she said from her cyclist training business on Beach Road, Black Rock, which she runs with her life partner, Stephen McGlede, also an Olympic medallist.
“But I have seen a lot of improvement in rider and driver behaviour, especially on Beach Road,” Ms Watt said.
“It’s paradise to ride along – one of the best road routes in the world – and most of the traffic is pretty good these days.”