Bike path drivers escape fines

No police action has been taken against motorists photographed using bicycle and pedestrian paths to avoid gridlocked roads earlier this year.

Photographs provided to _The West Australian _ in February showed drivers using the paths to jump traffic on Nicholson Road in Parkwood, between High Road and the Roe Highway overpass.

Driver Karen Hawkins said she saw about 12 vehicles drive down the bicycle path, including a delivery van and a taxi, and took the photographs.

She also reported the number plates to police, who told her this type of offence "was happening all the time" in Perth.

But a police spokeswoman said this week that no charges had been laid against the drivers of the cars in the photographs.

She said the police's traffic enforcement group had attended the site three times since February and, on one occasion, six vehicles were stopped. Of these, three were issued with infringements and three were cautioned for "crossing a continuous white line".

Ms Hawkins said yesterday the drivers of the cars identified in the photographs should have been fined. Bicycling WA chief executive Jeremey Murray said it was disappointing that police had chosen not to take action.

But he said it was pleasing that police returned to the site because it was clearly an ongoing issue.

"We would like to see continued policing of this area, not with the aim of fining drivers but to make it safer for pedestrians and riders who use this route," he said.

When the photographs were originally published, Curtin University's sustainability professor Peter Newman said the behaviour was what you would expect to see in Italy or Third World countries such as India, where it is often dangerous on footpaths as cars and motorcycles invade any available space.

Professor Newman said it was outrageous that police would not fine "the interlopers" immediately.

"In Fremantle, they are still fining cyclists for not wearing helmets or riding on the footpath," he said.

"It is an outrage.

"This practice will increase like graffiti unless the police step in straight away."

The West Australian

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