Pushbike couriers stand firm

The Sydney Morning Herald

Wednesday 4 December 1996
By Sonya Sandham

Pushbike couriers swamped a reclaim-the-footpath rally in Martin Place yesterday to defend their dodging and weaving through the city's traffic lights and pedestrians.

The event's organiser, Mr Harold Scruby, from the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said about 100 couriers converged on the soapbox speakers to vent their anger and frustration.

"They came up afterwards and surrounded me," he said. "They were pretty angry... and they were pretty rowdy, but they have a point, too."

Mr Scruby warned pushbike couriers that the next one to disobey the law and hit a pedestrian could end up experiencing the high cost of a civil court case.

He demanded the State Government implement the Parliamentary Staysafe Committee's recommendations made more than six months ago. "They'll change no behaviour at all until the recommendations are implemented and they are registered, unless there's some big law suits and insurance companies start puffing some weight on these couriers," he said.

Staysafe recommended bicycle couriers be registered, carry identification and lose drivers' licence points for traffic breaches.

The executive director of Bicycle NSW, Mr Warren Salomon, said it was a free-for-all on the streets and footpaths of Sydney and better facilities were needed for bike riders.

He said the city's 200 pushbike couriers had become the whipping boys for the wider problem.