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New South Wales bans road racing on public roads.(4 posts)

New South Wales bans road racing on public roads.theBreeze
Jun 25, 2003 11:04 AM
From latest news on

"The Australian State that once hosted important cycling events such as the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic, not to mention the Olympic Games road race, has effectively shut down road racing by banning all club cycling events to be held on public roads.

Only a handful of open events are likely to be run this year, while all club racing on public roads has been forced to stop due to a ruling by the Crown Solicitor's office of the recently re-elected Labor government of Premier Bob Carr.

The once-busy road racing calendar in NSW, a state that has produced riders such as's Bradley McGee, US Postal Service's Matt White and many other professional riders, is now reduced to five events. The only events which can be held on public roads must have "sterile" conditions, which means the roads are completely closed off to all other road users."

Apparently it has nothing to do with saftey issues or motorist complaints, but an interpretation of road laws.

Any aussies here with a local perspective?
It sucks to be Austrailian. nmeschelon
Jun 25, 2003 11:09 AM
Sounds just like England in the early 20th centuryMR_GRUMPY
Jun 25, 2003 11:22 AM
They had to run secret time "trials".
re: New South Wales bans road racing on public roads.willem72
Jun 25, 2003 3:47 PM
A sorry state of affairs.

It's become harder and harder to get approval for road racing in all Australian jurisdictions over the last few years. NSW has consistently been the least tolerant of cycling, I understand. Two years ago, public liability insurance premiums skyrocketed as Australian courts - and particulary those in NSW - started awarding payouts to litigants approaching the size of those frequently reported from the US. This "insurance crisis" has provided a convenient justification for the NSW government to start to wind back the number of cycling events on public roads which apparently "inconvenience" other road users (ie motorists in suburban Sydney).

I live in the ACT, which is landlocked by NSW. For many years our racing club ran events on roads in both the ACT and NSW, but for the last two years we've been restricted to ACT roads only. Traffic volumes in Canberra (the one and only city in the ACT) have been growing, so even some of the racing courses the club has used for years are less and less attractive. Our options are decreased each year.

The report is consistent with my understanding of the issue, however I think the NSW Federation, who is negotiating with the government on this issue, should not just focus on the small number of elite cyclists which emerge from the state each year, but remind all the stakeholders of the vast number of club racers and triathletes that front up each week to race in their local events - there's tremendous depth in the NSW scene, with a lot of strong clubs both metro and regional, open and veterans.

I would not be surprised to see an adjustment in the government's position in the medium term, and for the sake of all cyclists (racers and others) in NSW, I hope it's sooner rather than later, and based on the facts of road racing not the fear of the courts. I heard figures from the ACT Federation's CEO recently that the total insurance payouts to cyclists involved in club racing/training from all of Australia from 2000-2002 was only $175,000 AUD - that's less than the premiums we pay on the insurance.

Good luck to all racers in NSW - I hope the rest of us in other Australian states and territories are not infected with the same unfortunate affliction: paranoia.