More fines for CQ riders
CENTRAL Queensland police have issued almost double the number of fines to cyclists for talking on their phone while riding their bicycle since 2012.
The latest data from the Queensland Government shows the fines, worth $391 each, are being issued regularly.
In Queensland, police issued 169 fines for the offence in the 2016-17 financial year, up from 153 in the previous financial year.
Fines issued in the Capricornia region have almost doubled from 12 in the 2012-13 financial year to 23 in the 2016-17 financial year, the second-highest in Queensland after North Brisbane with 26 fines.
Emerald Road Policing Unit officer in charge Sergeant Brad Weeks said people were "not aware of the road rules pertaining to bicycles other than wearing of helmets”.
"Also a lot more people these days have smartphones that do more than just make phone calls,” he said.
"This seems to have created a kind of dependency on phones that people just can't put them down.
"I don't see a lot of bicycle riders in Emerald using their mobile phones but the few riders I have caught can't see how they are doing anything wrong, especially when they are on the footpath.”
Sgt Weeks said most offences one could commit in a car were also relevant to bicycle riders.
"Some common examples of these offences include speeding, drinking liquor while riding a bicycle, stopping and giving way at (stop signs, traffic lights, roundabouts, level crossings), giving way to pedestrians on footpaths,” he said.
"There are also offences that are specific to bicycle riders such as doubling passengers, keeping at least one hand on the handlebars, holding onto a moving vehicle, have the correct lighting at night, having no seat, bell or horn or other warning device.”
"Distraction and Inattention” is one of the Fatal Five and Sgt Weeks said "anything that takes away your ability to react or avoid a collision could be the difference between life and death for you or someone else”.
"I believe it is even more important for bicycle riders to stay off the phone or partake in any distracting activity whilst riding,” he said.
"Generally speaking, if a bicycle rider is wearing an approved safety helmet, that is the only protection they have against impact.
"The human body cannot take the same impact as a car or larger vehicle.”