While the USA would appear to be getting at least a little friendlier towards cyclists (Colorado being an exception), Australia is becoming down right hostile. New laws have gone into effect that bring extremely stiff fines to cyclists. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact there are no reciprocating laws for motorists. I read over the laundry list of infractions listed in the news article and my thought was that if there was an equivelant statute for motorists, scaled up to match the danger motorists bring to the roadway, these might be a good thing. But from what I can tell there is no motorists equivalents (although there may be lesser penalties):
The maximum penalties under the new act include:DANGEROUS riding - $13,610 or prison for twelve months or both.CARELESS riding of a bike - $681 for a first offence and $1361 for a subsequent offenceIF a person is killed or seriously injured by a cyclist and the rider has not immediately stopped and offered assistance - $68,052 or five years in prisonIF property is damaged by a cyclist and the rider has not immediately stopped and offered assistance - $284 or seven days in prison for a first offence and $567 or prison for between seven and 14 days for a subsequent offence.
Unfortunately the article didn't define dangerous or careless riding so who knows what that could entail. Even given the weakness of the Aus$ these penalties are a bit steep when compared to the same type penalties in the USA.
Oh and in case you weren't aware, Oz has an all ages helmet law. That was successful in reducing ridership by a substantial margin.
On Yer Bike!