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Dangerous ‘fat bikes’ plague suburb

Written by on May 14, 2024

A Sydney neighbourhood is being plagued by reckless bike riders allegedly riding at high speeds on pedestrian walkways, prompting fears for local’s safety.

“Fat bikes” – electric bikes with oversized wheels – have overrun the shared footpaths in the beachside suburb of Manly in recent months, with multiple reports of pedestrians being struck by bikes.

Some locals have reported seeing riders travel at speeds of over 40km/h.

“What we’re trying to avoid here is death, death and injury because for us, we’re very aware it’s only a matter of time,” Northern Beaches mayor Sue Heins told Nine.

NSW Police said there have been 244 offences between Manly and Palm Beach in the last 12 months, Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Even more concerning is the emerging trend of modified bikes whereby the bikes built-in speed cap of 25km/h can be adjusted by removing the throttle.

Inspector Stuart Forbes said riders of modified bikes could face heavy fines for riding them on the footpath.

“Once they modify, it becomes a vehicle, it doesn’t meet NSW legislation and there are heavy fines involved with it,” he told Nine.

Locals walking and riding along the beachfront on Tuesday morning reacted to the news, with most people agreeing the code was a move in the right direction.

“Kids will be kids, but and on the whole, I think it’s a really good thing for the community,” one cyclist told Nine.

“I said to my wife that I thought there might be an accident one day along here, there are lots of kids on one bike, no helmets, doing full speed past everybody,” another man said.

The Northern Beaches Council launched an Australian-first safety code for e-bike riders in Manly on Monday.

It advises riders to slow down to walking pace when sharing the footpath, ring the bell to alert others you’re approaching and be prepared to avoid people, pets and prams.

Unfortunately, police are unable charged riders under the age of 16 with any offence and are only able to seize the bike and caution the rider.

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