Cyclist hit with $400 fine for talking on mobile phone while riding bike
It’s common knowledge that it’s against the law to pick up your mobile phone while driving — but did you know it’s also illegal to ride a bike and use a phone at the same time?
The issue was brought to the fore after WA Police posted a photo to Twitter of a $400 fine handed to a cyclist for using her phone while riding a bike in the Perth suburb of Armadale.
The cyclist told police she was talking to her daughter.
Traffic Enforcement Group Inspector Mike Sparkman said under WA laws in place since 2011, motorists and cyclists were treated the same when it came to mobile phone usage.
“You’re a vulnerable road user, as it is, on a pushbike and this [using a phone] is just making you more vulnerable,” he told ABC Radio Perth.
However, he said it was not illegal to use a phone with headphones while cycling, “as long as you’re not holding the phone up to your ear or you’ve got it on loudspeaker and you’re riding one-handed.”
Inspector Sparkman said cyclists should park their bike safely in order to make or receive phone calls.
“You should be off the road so you’re safe,” he said.
The same law applied to mobility scooters, but not to people pushing prams.
“We actually had an issue about five or six years ago where a lady pushing a pram was given an infringement and that was withdrawn because when we reviewed the legislation, it didn’t fall within the legislation,” he said.
“But then again, you’re a pedestrian … and you are a vulnerable road user … and you’ve got to be fully aware of your surroundings.”
Horse riders, mobility scooters affected
Acting road safety commissioner Iain Cameron said laws around mobile phone usage also applied to people riding horses on the road.
Cyclists using footpaths were not exempt either.
“The reason that is illegal is because it’s dangerous and risky to the rider themselves … or to someone that they may ride into,” he said.
“Essentially a pedestrian being hit by a cyclist will be severely injured, particularly if that’s an elderly person … so it is about the risky behaviour and the fact that it’s dangerous.”
Mr Cameron said a common complaint from those fined was that they did not know the rules.
“But the road rules are published, everyone does a road rules test when they get their driver’s licence,” he said.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to know the road rules they think will be relevant to them.”