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Slater and Gordon lawyers have welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to allow children aged 15 and younger to ride their bikes on footpaths.

However, the law firm is also warning that while child safety is expected to improve with the introduction of the new age limit – which was previously 11 and younger – all footpath users need to be aware of the increased pavement traffic.

Senior Slater and Gordon Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Lawyer Genevieve Henderson applauded the move – which came into effect this week – as it will only improve safety for young teenagers who enjoy riding their bikes.

Ms Henderson said that the new limit would hopefully encourage more children to get out and ride their bicycles, perhaps decreasing their reliance on parents driving them around.

But she suggested that with more bikes on the footpath there is also a higher risk of collision between cyclists and pedestrians and between cyclists and cars leaving or entering driveways.

“This is great news for children and for their parents, who are no doubt happy about this change,” Ms Henderson said.

“But we need to ensure that all road and footpath users are prepared for the change and to adjust their behaviour accordingly.

“This goes for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”

Ms Henderson also reminded the public of road rules for cyclists to;

  • keep to the left side of the footpath
  • give way to any pedestrians on the footpath. (slow down and, if necessary, stop)
  • not cross a road at a foot crossing, unless there are bicycle crossing lights
  • not ride a bike that does not have one effective brake or a working bell or horn.

Motorists must also:

  • take increased care when entering and exiting their properties across a footpath
  • give way to pedestrians or bicycles on the footpath and again give way to avoid a collision.

For more information on the new laws go to www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/regulations/2018-388.pdf

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