Page 2439 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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certainly New South Wales and Queensland have both gone down the path that we are proposing.

It is also worth reflecting on work that has been done by experts in the field. For example, the New South Wales Centre for Road Safety did a number of tests on motorised bicycles in 2014. During these tests the centre found that engines used in petrol-powered bicycles produced more than 200 watts of power, that some are sold with a limiting device that restricts their power output and that these may be marketed as complying with the 200-watt limit. The centre found that this restricting device could easily be removed or bypassed in less than five minutes resulting in the engine producing well over the 200-watt threshold.

As I observed earlier, the advice I have is that you would need more than 200 watts to generally power a bicycle. People, of course, are going to want to have more than 200 watts of power. Clearly there is going to be a strong motivation there to exceed the existing rules. It is also worth noting that the New South Wales Centre for Road Safety, in relation to engines retrofitted to standard bicycles, found:

Overall, the fact that the petrol engine and components are retrofitted to standard bicycles rather than petrol-powered bicycles being manufactured as a discrete unit has resulted in many of the parts not being properly housed, which either means they pose a risk to the rider during normal activities or there can be damage to such an extent that they represent a risk to the rider, for example, if the fuel hose becomes punctured due to localised contact with heat and the engine drive chain that rotates at a considerable speed is fully exposed.

They also said:

The risks associated with retrofitting petrol engines onto standard bicycles is not confined to vehicles sold as petrol-powered bicycles as most suppliers also supply the engine assemblies for personal fitting to a bicycle. Indeed, this can compound the risks as most people retrofitting an engine to a standard bicycle are unlikely to have done the operation regularly and may not have developed the necessary skills to fit one properly.

I think we see a number of genuine safety issues here that are about providing a level of safety to our community and a level of standards that seeks to avoid dangerous situations from, I guess, backyard efforts at rigging up something. It looks like a lot of fun but is in fact quite unsafe.

I did note Mr Hanson’s throwaway line about my motivation to get more people cycling. I think that is quite the case and that is why we are making efforts. The government has passed regulations to allow more pedelec bikes to come into the ACT. I think that most older people are going to be looking for that safer version and certainly since those regulations have passed we have seen a real takeoff in the use of electric-assisted bikes in the ACT, because more models are coming into the market and also through just generally increasing popularity. I think we are doing plenty to facilitate the usage of those whilst at the same time trying to strike that balance of taking the much more dangerous models off the road.

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