A person riding a bike has been demonized for obeying the law in a 7 News article.

Yesterday, March 5, 7 News published a photograph of a person on their bike waiting at the front of a queue at a red traffic light, at a on-ramp to the Pacific Highway in NSW. Dylan Yasar, who uploaded the image, called for the rider to be fined $1000 for ‘disrupting the roads’.

Mr Yasar’s anger appears to stem from the fact the rider is not using the bike lane.  The un-cropped image clearly shows the rider is in a right turning lane and may have been intending to turn right, just like the car behind him.  It also clearly shows debris in the bike lane, which is highly likely to cause an accident.

This rider is obeying the law, and exercising due care to avoid an accident. People riding bikes on the road are also entitled to use the traffic lanes and to avoid using a bike lane if it would be unsafe to do so. Understanding the laws as they apply to bikes can be confusing, so Bicycle NSW produced visual resources to make it clearer.

Unfortunately, the way 7 News has chosen to report this story contributes to encouraging negative and potentially dangerous attitudes towards bike riders.

Bicycle NSW recently called out anti-social media including 7’s Facebook page and called for better quality journalism when it comes to bike riders and crashes involving them.

“Stories like this incite anger amongst some drivers, promote hatred of people riding bikes and are irresponsible journalism,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.

“We call on all journalists to think about the impact of their stories, and act more responsibly.  Inciting aggression against people riding bikes and using phrases like ‘war on the roads’, undermines efforts to make our roads safer for everyone,” said Bastien.

Following the release of this story and our article, a member reached out to us with supporting evidence demonstrating that:

  • Dylan Yasar did not take the image but shared the original posted by Tom Gale
  • Dylan was not present when the image was taken, so cannot accurately claim the rider proceeded straight ahead
  • A  direct message and an email were sent to Channel 7 seeking a public correction and no response was received

Bicycle NSW has reported the story to Media Watch.

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