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HomeNewsE-bike safety campaign kicks off at Manly

E-bike safety campaign kicks off at Manly

A pioneering campaign promoting the safe riding of e-bikes was launched on Manly seafront on Monday morning, 13 May.

Attracting national media attention for their efforts, the ‘Know the e-Bike Code‘ campaign is being led by Northern Beaches Council.

Speakers at the event included Mayor Sue Heins, Inspector Stuart Forbes of NSW Police, Peter McLean, CEO of Bicycle NSW and Amy Smith, Assistant Principal at Stella Maris College Manly.

In a public statement to coincide with the launch, Council announced they were “tackling the issues associated with the spike in e-bikes by launching an education and behavioural change campaign to help riders know the road rules, ride safely and respect other road uses”.

The community campaign, which will also involve working with schools to educate students in e-bike responsibility and the wearing of helmets, is aimed at improving pedestrian and rider safety. Stella Maris reportedly requires parents to ensure their children have passed L driver practice tests and lodge the bike’s details with the school.

A cycling ‘code’, consisting of three key tips, is being encouraged for riders who cycle through areas of high pedestrian activity or along shared bicycle paths.

Slow down to a walking pace when others are on the path.

Ring your bell and call ‘on your right’ to let others know you’re approaching.

Be ready for sudden changes – people, pets and prams can be unpredictable.

Cyclists, particularly e-bike riders, are encouraged to be considerate of other path users. Photo: Salty Dingo

At the seafront launch, Mayor Heins revealed that the origins of the campaign began with a Motion introduced by Cr David Walton at Council’s September 2023 meeting, to which all councillors agreed on an e-bike safety campaign.

“The first thing we did was an audit to check on how e-bikes were being used in the area. We had a heap of anecdotes from local residents, but we needed an audit to identify what the issues were,” Mayor Heins said.

“For some people it was speed – we’re aware that some e-bikes can be altered to make them faster than they are legally allowed. A lot of young people in particular are not aware of NSW road rules.”

Inspector Stuart Forbes from Northern Sydney Sector Highway Patrol Command, which oversees Northern Beaches road safety and traffic-related issues, said, “We’re looking at a multi-faceted approach in which Council work with NSW Police, Bicycle NSW and other organisations to get everyone on board and doing the right thing when it comes to road safety on bicycles.

“There are e-bikes that are modified to go a lot faster than the legal speed limit. That’s what we need to address, to bring the speed limit down so that other users are safe – pedestrians in particular.”

Inspector Stuart Forbes of NSW Police at the launch of the e-bike safety campaign on Manly seafront. Photo: Alec Smart

Bicycle NSW CEO, Peter McLean said, “It is our vision to create a safer, better riding environment for all bicycle users – and of course, we want to see more people riding, more often.

“We really applaud Northern Beaches Council for launching the three point code: ringing your bell, slowing down for all other road users – not just pedestrians – and being aware of your surroundings, other users, like those that are walking dogs, running, people with prams and anyone slower than you. It’s really important we emphasise the word ‘shared’ in shared paths.

“The other point: always wear your helmet! Helmets are there to protect riders. They do save lives.”

E-bike safety involves being considerate and aware of other users. Photo: Salty Dingo

In November 2023, Council submitted a motion to the Local Government NSW Annual Conference to advocate for a state-wide education campaign, a review of the current road legislation, and the provision of grant funding to local councils for safety improvements to shared paths.

Mayor Heins added, “As we kick off our e-bike safety campaign, let’s remember that safe riding isn’t a destination; it’s a journey we must all take together.”

Legal

  • E-bikes cannot be propelled exclusively by a motor and must not assist pedalling past the speed of 25 km/h.
  • Under 16’s are legally allowed to ride on footpaths.
  • E-scooters cannot legally be ridden on public roads and paths in NSW, only on private property.
  • Bicycles are not allowed in pedestrian malls such as The Corso at Manly.

Northern Beaches Council e-bike safety campaign:

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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