Council call for footpaths in town centres to be a bicycle free zone

Councillor Nick Katris has had a number of complaints, primarily from people in the Kogarah business district saying they have witnessed situations where the Deliveroos or other riders have been speeding through the pedestrian areas in the heart of the town centre.
Councillor Nick Katris has had a number of complaints, primarily from people in the Kogarah business district saying they have witnessed situations where the Deliveroos or other riders have been speeding through the pedestrian areas in the heart of the town centre.

Georges River Council will write to the State Government asking for improved policing to get cyclists off footpaths in town centres.

Councillor Nick Katris wants the rules amended to prevent bicycles riding on a footpath or nature strips in areas where there is a speed limit of 40km or less.

In a notice of motion at this week's council meeting Cr Katris also called for road rules to be modified to allow Police officers to take action, against any offender, through issuing warnings and possible penalties

"I'm not talking about bicycle riders riding anywhere else apart from the 40km speed limit in the heart of our business centres," Cr Katris said.

"I've had a number of complaints, primarily from people in the Kogarah business district saying they have witnessed situations where the Deliveroos or other riders have actually been speeding through the pedestrian areas in the heart of the Kogarah Town Centre.

"I feel that is really dangerous to everybody, not just the senior citizens or young children, but dangerous to everybody."

Cr Katris said the legislation is outdated and with the definition of a bicycle including tricycles and penny farthings.

"I don't think there would be many people who are old enough to even know what a penny farthing is," Cr Katris said.

"The legislation says a bicycle can be ridden on a footpath or nature strip, however it does not apply to bicycles fitted with engines. All I am asking is for NSW police to be given more powers to enforce this.

"A couple of weeks ago I was almost run over by a bicycle rider. They have no regard for the people on the footpath, People have to jump out of their way. They just drive through and if you don't jump out of their way, they don't care and swerve at the last minute. If you are an elderly person, they swing around you.

"I'm not asking for a totalitarian state. I'm only asking that for these areas that are very built up that police can be given more power to warn them off the footpath.

"Besides it is not dangerous for them to go on the road in a 40km/h zone."

He was supported by Cr Stephen Aguis.

"This is not targeted against business owners or small cafes that rely on those delivery riders to service their customers," Cr Aguis said.

"But walking down Railway Parade, Kogarah it is not just one bike but there could be four or five bikes all zipping past and weaving in and out of people on an already crowded footpath.

"I'd hate to see someone getting seriously hurt by being knocked over by one of these bikes."

While sharing their concerns Cr Warren Tegg was against the motion.

"The massive issues with bicycle delivery riders particularly with COVID, is something that the council will have to deal with," he said.

"These delivery drivers need to drive safely but they are also increasingly a big revenue stream for our small businesses," Cr Tegg said.

"This motion would also prevent parents from riding on the footpath with their kids which they are permitted to do. It would prevent younger children from riding along footpaths in a 40km zone which are not just in our town centres. There are other areas such as around schools are 40km zones

"We need a modern solution for a modern problem. Our main streets aren't set up with the kind of things cyclists are required to do now."

Cr Kathryn Landsbery supported the motion.

"Anybody who has ever almost been taken out by somebody riding on a footpath would support a motion like this," she said.

"I fail to understand why anyone would think that footpath are meant for bikes. They're not. Footpaths are meant for walking."

The motion was carried with Councillors Warren tegg, Sandy Grekas and Leesha Payor voting against it.

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