Scores of cyclists vented their anger this morning at the compulsory identification of adult riders and new fines that are being introduced across New South Wales from March.
More than 100 cyclists rode en masse from Taylor Square in Darlinghurst to Martin Place under a police escort.
From March 2016, riding without an ID will result in a $106 fine. Not wearing a helmet or holding onto a moving car will cost $319, while running a red light will incur a $425 penalty.
The changes were announced by NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay as part of a crackdown on cyclists who break road rules.
Donald Semken, the organiser of the protest ride, told the rally that “we are here because compulsory ID does not stop us hearing these damn words: ‘Sorry I did not see you mate'”.
“It is a huge problem … when people get behind the wheels of a car they fail to see us as human beings,” Mr Semken said.
“We fail to see how an increase in fines and registration by proxy through a compulsory ID make us any safer.
“We have seen countless studies [showing] that in cyclist and driver incidents, drivers are predominantly at fault.
“So we want the NSW Government to listen up, to roll out Government policy that is based on driver awareness and making us safer.
“What we want is to see more infrastructure and a change in the kind of rhetoric that we’re faced on the roads every day.”
The New South Wales director of the Centre for Road Safety Transport Bernard Carlton told the ABC last month the move was considered an important safety measure.
“There’s been a big change in cycling and we’ve got a lot more cyclists on the road who are commuting and cycling for recreation and health,” he said.
“In New South Wales we have on average around 11 cyclist fatalities every year and 1,500 cyclists are admitted to hospital every year with serious injuries.”
Mr Carlton said cyclists would only be stopped and asked to provide identification if suspected of breaking a rule by the police.
“For the first 12 months we will be making it compulsory to carry ID if you are on NSW roads, but the penalty won’t apply for the first 12 months,” he said.