What is Wrong with Australian Officials? Aug 13, 2010

Photo by Simon MacMichael

I feel like Walter in the Big Lebowski where he yells, “has the whole world gone crazy?! am I the only one are here who gives a shit about the rules?!”. As if there isn’t other shit the officials in Australia could be worrying about, they’ve decided to thwart local bike shops from selling hot fixies without brakes by fining them 1.1 million dollars. What?! So let me get this straight, it’s the manufacturers responsibility, if they sell a complete bike for the street to equip it with brakes. Don’t be mistaken, track bikes can come brakeless, but ‘fixies’ need a front and / or rear brake. So rather than enforcing it with the big companies, they are cracking down on the shops.

I understand their concern but why not have the riders sign a waver? Or just mark it zero.

  • Give’em a Brake!

  • Massive fan of your site/blog, really enjoy getting home and seeing what’s happening all over that place. I live in Australia and couldn’t agree with you more. We have gone mad, there are so many rules and regulations to follow here and its always taken out on the wrong people when they (government) tries to set examples. If i take my brakes off and get run over, its my fault. That said being caught with no brakes here costs $370 big ones!
    Also speaking of shops check out my mate Nick’s @ http://www.saintcloud.com.au – He would love to hear from you!

    Thanks Prolly,

  • voltron

    i wonder if they will try that whole lever on the seat post thing i heard about a while back

  • Alex

    As someone who lives in Sydney I say fair enough..

    Bike shops shouldn’t be selling vehicles to the public that aren’t legally able to be ridden on the road..

    Brakeless encourages a style of riding that is simply unsafe.. Blowing lights and shooting gaps that should left alone because its too hard to slow down, and too hard to speed up again..

  • Jan

    First time I post on your great blog! I was recently in Australia; it’s the most stupidly regulated country in the world. I saw more signposts saying what one is not allowed to do in 1 week, than I think I’ve seen in my whole life. It’s a mystery to me how people manage to live in that sterile type of society… It helps to be Australian I guess…

  • Stefo

    Understand about bikes being sold without brakes.. hey its illegal to sell a bike without reflectors and a bell to meet safety regulations!!!! You simply just take em off yourself!!!! Im in Adelaide and never herd of a fine for no brakes but they do sometimes question it ive even had cops pull me over to perve on my bike and compliment the “no brakes” it just depends which cop is on there rags or not!!!

  • jpd

    i agree with alex.
    in nyc (as prolly should know) complete bikes are required to be sold with brakes. if you get hit by a car on a brakeless bike, you cant do shit, its your fault. bikes without brakes are NOT safe. this fixie crap shouldnt even bother trying to justify it…”but were skilled!” youre promoting a trend to people who arent, and whether you can “skid-stop” or not, its not gonna do what brakes can.

  • This is just terrible.

  • Dylan

    yeh i live in Melbourne, this rule isnt going to affect anyone..

    fixed trick bikes might not fall under the ‘track’ exception. find a way around it.

    but who buys a ‘complete’ fixie? people who will wish they had a front brake. people i share the road with. people i want to have a front brake.




  • That´s just plain ridiculous. Nothing more to say. Feel sorry for the aussie broddas.

    It’s shit like that that makes me happy to live in the 3d world, where there’s absolutely no respect or infrastructure for cycling, but on the other hand, you can do whatever you want, even run red lights in front of the road officers.

  • The guy who slagged the football team –
    Those yobs were not for him
    Turns into a real estate agent
    Who believes in discipline;
    That guy who’s the first to use cocaine,
    The wild boy breaking free,
    Ends up in a court of law
    As a prosecuting QC;
    Remember the school captain? –
    Success was a matter of time;
    I can hear her now as she screams,
    ‘Jan! You missed the stop sign!’

    (Apologies to TISM)

  • Guys, I said in my entry that complete bikes are required to have brakes… assembled bikes are not. By law in the states. Even if your bike is sold from Taiwan.

  • Long time fan of your site. Being one of maybe 5 guys who take FGFS seriously in Melbourne (if there are more please show yourselves!!!), your site provides the fire that makes the very few of us push on with it.

    I think the bike laws in Australia are retarded.

    We have been ‘brainwashed’ to think that riding a bike is actually dangerous. Helmet laws are one thing, even tho I think it should be up to the rider to decide. But to get a fine for not having a bell or reflector? C’mon!

    Did you know that the motorcycle law here states that you only have to wear a helmet to ride? Not even gloves or protective clothing. And here they are giving us a hard time for not having a reflector on a bicycle.

    Im sure the statistics show that probability of being in a bicycle accident is far less that say that of one that owns a car or even a pedestrian. Why are bikers then crucified?

    And to those who say that riding a bike in Australia is dangerous and that the laws are agreeable, maybe you should stick to public transport. Or buy a longboard. Just make sure it has reflectors aye…

  • PS. Please hit up Nick at SaintCloud. He is the only shop in Melbourne that supports the FGFS scene. Without him, we’d still be chasing cars with our kierin bikes….like everyone else.


  • Tim

    Technically, riding a bike without reflectors and a bell is illegal too. Have you ever seen a Madone come with them?

    It’s a knee jerk reaction to the bandwagon jumpers who ride brakeless and helmetless. They’ve wrecked it for the rest of us.

    BTW.. Australia is a great country and not over regulated. We have a country that stupidly relies on cars and it’s far to easy to get and keep a licence here. Australian drivers are some of the most arrogant and ignorant (and sadly the most vocal too) and they hate cyclists! The print media jump on this every chance they get (the crappy Herald-Sun in particular). The government doesn’t support cycling anywhere near as much as they should. 2c

  • Jerrylikesbikes

    Hey Tim, go down to a Trek dealer and ask to see the “bonus kit” that comes with every Madone, it’ll make your day.

  • Australia proves yet again that they are the least bike friendly country in the world.

    For those that don’t know, AUS is the only “first world” country in the world that requires all cyclists, regardless of age, to wear a helmet by law.

    After the mandatory helmet law was introduced in 1994, bike ridership plummeted.

    One study shows that that law has cost AUS half a billion $ a year: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2009/04/putting-price-on-bicycle-helmet-laws.html

    The point is that the more legal obstacles a country creates in order to ride a bike, the less likely people are to ride. This ridiculous law is in that same vain.

    Give me a f*cking break! (No pun intended). A law that taxed people based on miles driven in car (as a single occupant) would better serve society, rather than laws that make it harder to run a bike shop.

  • Can i just confirm some comments made earlier by other people about drivers being ignorant etc… Drivers around Melbourne have gone mad, or are becoming more obviously mad despite all our rules! Tonight riding the same way between work and home nearly got run down again while riding in the bike lane! This is common but what i wanted to point out was that the driver after nearly running into me (had i of not hit their car first) got angry at me!! Give me a break, rules here are useless because they only favor ignorant drivers in their cars.