An unusual width restriction for pedal-powered vehicles on roads and paths in Western Australia is being challenged by Bicycle Industries Australia, driven by its impact on people trying to source tricycles through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
BIA is lobbying the WA Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, to have the law scrapped, arguing the restriction is discriminatory because NDIS-approved tricycles do not comply with the regulation’s maximum width of 660mm.
BIA General Manager Peter Bourke said while removing the width restriction would enable greater mobility for people with a disability, by allowing them to use NDIS assistance to purchase suitable tricycles, it would benefit other micromobility users.
“Many cargo bikes, bike panniers and even 90% of mountain bikes fall outside that width restriction,” he said.
“The law has flown under the radar for a long time because police have not been issuing fines for non-compliance, so no one has really cared.”
WA is the only State with a width restriction for pedal-powered vehicles and it had been targeted by BIA because it raises possible issues with insurance coverage for micromobility users.
“We had also raised the issue that the bollards on WA bike paths were not spaced wide enough to accommodate wider bikes, such as the trishaws use by the Cycling Without Age movement,” Mr Bourke said.
“Now the maximum width law has become a bigger issue because it discriminates against people with disability
“The Minister has now indicated last week she will look into it.”
Mr Bourke said removing the law would open a door for greater uptake of cargo bikes in WA.
For example, reliable insurance coverage would be imperative for companies looking to use cargo bikes for commercial activities.
The Minister’s office has been contacted for comment.