Lobbying for the abolition of a maximum width law for bicycles in WA is set to go to the State’s parliament, after Australian Greens politician Dr Brad Pettitt took up the cause.
Dr Pettitt has joined Bicycle Industries Australia (BIA) and WA bike industry representatives in calling on the WA Government to scrap the unusual law, which limits pedal-powered vehicles on roads and public paths to a maximum width of 660mm.
The Legislative Council said he and the State’s peak cycling advocacy group, West Cycle, had been speaking to senior bureaucrats and advisers to the WA Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, but the issue had been “going around in circles for about nine months”.
“It’s getting close to a point where we take it to parliament but I’ve been waiting for a few other things to play out first,” Dr Pettitt, a former West Bike board member, said.
“I’m talking to some of the other crossbench politicians and we will get support from them as well.
“This is a pretty simple and logical thing to fix.”
BIA began campaigning last year to have the law abolished, driven by its impact on people trying to source tricycles through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
It says while NDIS-approved tricycles fall outside the regulation’s maximum, so do many cargo bikes, bicycles fitted with panniers and the vast majority of contemporary design mountain bikes.
BIA General Manager Peter Bourke said the organisation lobbied for an extended period to get a response from the Minister’s office and eventually received a reply he described as “it’s a matter for the bureaucrats and they’ll review the laws when they’re ready”.
Dr Pettitt, a former Mayor of Fremantle and an early adopter of e-bike and cargo bikes, said he had been speaking with a local bike store that had hit a number of roadblocks in selling bikes through the NDIS.
“I know people who would love to get an electric tricycle and it’s an excellent way to increase their mobility but they are coming up against this arbitrary regulation that makes no sense on multiple levels,” he said.
“Even our police bikes don’t comply with the maximum width.
“This issue needs the Minister to act. It needs someone to take some leadership.
“We need to be encouraging and making it easy for people with disability to get on these bikes. We need to encourage the use of cargo bikes and other e-mobility,” he added.
“They are an important part of making our cities better, making cities greener and making the transition to low-carbon cities – and we need to get all the roadblocks out of the way to enable people to do that.”
The Minister’s office was contacted for comment.
Dr Pettitt also voiced support for e-bike speeds to be raised.
“Twenty-five kilometres per hour is too low. It should be 30 to 35kmh if we are serious about people using e-mobility as a transport and commuting device,” he stated.