May 19 - 25, 2024: Issue 626


Council initiates e-bike Safety Campaign

Northern Beaches Council in Sydney states it is tackling the issues associated with the spike in e-bikes by launching an education and behavioural change campaign to help riders know the road rules, ride safely and respect other road uses. 

Mayor Sue Heins said, in September 2023, Council resolved to develop a community awareness and safety campaign to improve pedestrian and rider safety.

“We’re leading this by implementing a behavioural change campaign and educational resources aimed at young people and their parents, and further reassuring our community that we are taking all possible action within our power to keep them safe. 

“We’ve had to act swiftly with the rapid influx of e-bikes on our streets and in the absence of legislative change of the road rules by the state government.

“We strongly advocate for cleaner forms of transport like bike riding because they are good for our physical and mental health, and the environment, but we know members of the community no longer feel safe walking on our footpaths and there have been some serious collisions and many near misses. Unfortunately, we don’t want it to be a matter of not “if” but “when” someone will get seriously injured or worse. 

“We’re hoping to target young riders through a digital, social and outdoor campaign and signage across our shared paths detailing “the code” or tips that motivate safe behaviour when riding these bikes.” Mayor Heins said. 

The e-bike code is:

  1. Slow down to walking pace when others are on the path 
  2. Ring your bell and call ‘on your right’ to let others know you’re approaching 
  3. Be ready for sudden changes – people, pets and prams can be unpredictable

Northern Sydney Sector Highway Patrol Command Inspector Stuart Forbes has been a strong advocate of not only promoting responsible riding, but a culture of safety and awareness for all road users.

“We're sending a clear message: safety and following the road rules is everyone's responsibility. Since July last year we have had hundreds of reports and complaints involving e-bikes in the Northern Beaches Police Area Command.  Highway Patrol continue to be proactive in education and enforcement with e-bikes.”

Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean supports the e-bike Safety Campaign and commended Council for tackling this issue. 

“E-Bikes are changing the way we commute but we need to ensure that this change is not just positive but also safe and respectful to all road users. This campaign aims to highlight awareness, respect, tolerance, and safety.”

Last year, Council wrote to the NSW Minister for Roads and Transport, Jo Haylen, to encourage the Government to initiate a state-wide education campaign on e-bike usage and instigate a review of the relevant road rules. This month the Mayor also wrote to 128 Councils across the state encouraging them to follow suit to take action on growing safety concerns.

Council also submitted a motion to the Local Government NSW 2023 Annual Conference held in November to advocate for a state-wide education campaign, a review of the current road legislation and the provision of grant funding to local councils for safety improvements to shared paths. 

Council has produced an engaging video and educational resources that will be rolled out across social media and shared with parents, schools and bicycle stores. 

Council will also work with schools to provide resources and access to a range of information to assist in improving the knowledge of students using e-bikes.

In November 2023, behaviour change consultants were appointed to provide advice on the strategic direction and safety messaging for the behaviour change campaign. Messaging was tested on local youth and parents on the peninsula resulting in a simple set of safety tips to ensure safer riding and awareness of other footpath users.

Council has been working closely with local stakeholders including the Northern Beaches Police Area Command, local schools and Bicycle NSW to inform the campaign.  

The facts:

  • E-bikes are subject to the same road rules as bicycles. To be considered a bicycle it cannot be propelled exclusively by a motor. In Australia, e-bikes must not assist pedalling past the speed of 25km/h.
  • Under 16’s are legally allowed to ride on footpaths, and they can be accompanied by an adult. 
  • Bicycle riders must keep to the left on footpaths and give way to pedestrians.
  • All bicycle riders must have a bell on their bike to warn others of their approach and wear a helmet.
  • While e-bikes sold in Australia meet the legal requirements, there is currently no quality control over e-bikes purchased and shipped from overseas retailers.
  • Personal e-scooters cannot legally be ridden on public roads and paths in NSW, only on private property. 
  • Bicycles are not allowed in pedestrian malls such as The Corso at Manly.

“As we kick off our e-bike safety campaign, let's remember that safe riding isn't a destination; it's a journey we must all take together,” Mayor Heins said. 

To find out more about e-bike rules and the campaign visit Council’s webpage: