An Orange cycling advocate has backed calls by a Sydney father to change the law to allow children 12 and over to be allowed to ride their bikes on footpaths.
Ray Dally, who has been involved in bike safety classes in Orange, said it was dangerous for children to ride on the road.
“At 12 they still haven’t got the full ability to assess traffic speed,” he said.
“To force them onto the road at that age is far too young.”
He said that while he hadn’t heard of any child cyclists being hit by cars “there’s been a few close calls.
“I’ve been riding with my son and we had someone [nearly] take us out because they weren’t looking.”
Mr Dally suggested the age be raised to the same as the driving age, 16 for learners and 17 for P-platers.
“We don’t let children on the road in a car at that age.”
Orange cyclist Simon Wright said riding on footpaths was dangerous with cars coming out of driveways not seeing cyclists.
He said more cycle paths should be built.
Callum Gordon has started an online petition calling on the state government to reconsider the law which forces children onto the road when they turn 12.
Mr Gordon said the law should be extended to adults to ensure cyclists were safe – as long as they were sensible on footpaths.
“Personally I would like everyone to be able to cycle on the footpath,” he said.
NSW and Victoria are the only states to have the age restriction on footpath riding.
A spokesman for Transport for NSW said there were no plans to change the law.
“Footpaths are predominantly designed for the use and safety of pedestrians,” he said.
He said if bikes and walkers crashed, “it is the pedestrian who is generally at a greater risk of serious injury.”