Page 1610 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2013
Debate resumed from 11 April 2013, on motion by Mr Corbell:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (11.04): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting the Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2013. The bill amends the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 and other associated legislation to allow for the use of pedalecs in the ACT. A pedalec is a form of power-assisted bicycle which relies primarily on human power to propel it but also has a motor to provide assistance. Unlike a motor vehicle, including a moped, registration of a power-assisted bicycle is not required as long as it meets the definition of a bicycle contained in the Road Transport (General) Act 1999.
A pedalec is more powerful than a conventional electric bicycle, providing up to 250 watts of continuous rated power. Unlike a conventional electric bike, it is not possible to coast on a pedalec because pedalling is required when the bicycle reaches six kilometres an hour. This means that a pedalec is safer for cyclists and other road users. Since they are more powerful than a conventional electrical bicycle, pedalecs are not allowed in the ACT because they fall outside the current definition of a bicycle in the legislation.
However, under the new definition in this bill, pedalecs will meet the definition of a bicycle and can therefore be ridden on both on-road cycle paths and community paths like conventional bicycles. They will also be subject to the same road rules for bicycles, including the requirement to wear a helmet and dismount to cross a pedestrian crossing.
The Canberra Liberals believe it is important to support a cycling culture which makes it easy for people of all ages and abilities to be involved in cycling. Allowing the use of pedalecs will make cycling accessible to more Canberrans. Pedalecs are easier to ride than a conventional pedal bicycle, particularly up hills. Pedalecs will also make cycling accessible to people with injuries or disabilities who may not be able to pedal a long distance on a conventional bicycle. They will also make it possible for people to cycle further with the same amount of effort.
Cycling, of course, is good exercise and a good way to commute. However, the relative sprawl of Canberra means that cycling is not always a practical means of transport for everyone. However, allowing the use of pedalecs should make it possible for more people to cycle in Canberra. The Canberra Liberals are pleased to support this legislation which brings the ACT into line with other jurisdictions and should make cycling more accessible for people of all ages and abilities.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.05): The Greens are pleased to support the Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2013. The bill makes a simple change to ACT legislation to ensure that it is now legal in the ACT to use pedal assisted electric bikes with a power of up to 250 watts. This is something the Greens have actively