Children under the age of 16 will be spared $112 fines for cycling on the footpath under a New South Wales government reform to save young lives.
Cyclists under the age of 16 will be allowed to use the footpath, up from age 12, under an announcement from Roads Minister Melinda Pavey.
Anyone above the age of 12 previously faced a $112 fine.
Supervising adults were already permitted to ride with their children.
The reform comes after two children under 16 died and 1770 were seriously injured riding on the road in the five years to 2017.
“Children are some of our most vulnerable road users and as a government we are always looking at new initiatives to protect our young people and support them to be safe on and near the road,” Ms Pavey said on Sunday.
Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith, who has been campaigning for the threshold to be lifted to 17, was delighted with the partial win.
“The busy traffic of a congested city is no place for a child to ride their bike on the road. Every child should be able to cycle in a safe environment.”
He hoped more children would feel safe enough to take up cycling.
Bicycle NSW was disappointed the age was only lifted to 16.
“What about everyone else?” the cycling advocacy group said in a statement.
“Whilst this will see children continue to ride safer for longer, and also look after their physical and mental health, this law change does not cater for those newer or less-confident riders.”
Executive officer Alistair Ferguson said allowing bicycles on footpaths encouraged more people to cycle.
“Unfortunately, the road can be an intimidating place for inexperienced riders, seniors and women. Providing a safe zone for these riders will encourage them to ride more and further, improving their health.
“Where segregated cycleways are not provided, having the footpath that they can safely share with pedestrians should be a viable option.”
Last month, 106 fines for riding on the footpath were handed out and brought in $11,600 in state revenue.
Bicycle riders must also keep left on the footpath, and give way to pedestrians.
All cyclists must wear a helmet.