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In Western Australia, your mountain bike is breaking the law

In Western Australia, your mountain bike is breaking the law

A mountain biker in WA, riding at the 2019 Cape to Cape. The ripples from an outdated bicycle-width regulation, and the damage done. An obscure…

Tuesday, Jun 14

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A mountain biker in WA, riding at the 2019 Cape to Cape. The ripples from an outdated bicycle-width regulation, and the damage done.

An obscure bike width regulation means hundreds of thousands of people are in conflict with the regulations every time they ride a bike, theoretically exposing themselves to police fines and insurance woes. But this loophole also has troubling implications for bike infrastructure and people with disability .

The corridors of power are built upon legislation – sometimes visionary, sometimes dreary, and sometimes totally inane.

It’s the last category that tends to be the most fun. In parts of Australia, for instance, you can face a year’s jail-time for cleaning up bat guano without a license (Section 387, Criminal Code Act 1913 (WA)) , or cop a AU$777.30 fine for “flying a kite to the annoyance of any person” (Section 4, Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)) . Often, these laws aren’t enforced – their greatest modern-day relevance is as fluffy bits of pub trivia. But sometimes, weird laws can have real consequences.

As is the curious case with Section 10 of the snappily titled Western Australia Road Traffic Act 1974 (Road Traffic [Bicycles] Regulations 2002) .

Under this piece of legislation – which applies to the vast state of Western Australia, covering a third of the continent and home to 2.6 million people – a bicycle cannot exceed the width of 660 mm.

We’re primarily a drop-bar site here, so to give you some context, you probably can’t buy a mountain bike […]

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