New laws will make it illegal to put the safety of drivers, riders and passengers at risk by throwing objects or placing them in their path.
The laws were passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Friday as part of the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill put forward by attorney-general Simon Corbell.
Road safety minster Shane Rattenbury said the laws would help protect the capital’s road users from irresponsible and dangerous actions, such as throwing rocks at cars or cyclists.
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“Throwing objects at cyclists is unfortunately a relatively common practice, and many regular cyclists will have a story of being hit or nearly hit by an object thrown from a car,” he said.
“These days, with the popularity of , a quick internet search will bring up videos of cyclists being subjected to dangerous behaviour.
“The consequences of this type of behaviour could be potentially catastrophic and any person found guilty of this offence now faces up to two years imprisonment.
“We strive to be a jurisdiction that is open and friendly to people using all forms of transport – in fact, we want to particularly encourage people to use more sustainable and active means of travelling.
“It is really important that, in encouraging more Canberrans to choose active travel, we have laws that ensure our roads are safe for everybody.”
Rattenbury said the government had implemented several safety and accessibility measures for vulnerable road users, such as minimum passing distances when overtaking cyclists, allowing cyclists to cycle over crossings at low speeds, and a trial of motorcycle lane filtering.
“We have also made a number of infrastructure improvements, such as the completion of the civic cycle loop and the new Bunda Street shareway.
“Initiatives like these aim to improve accessibility and connectivity, improve safety and raise awareness of cyclists on our roads.
“The new offence also applies to throwing objects at other vehicles, and covers actions such as car drivers throwing objects at other car drivers, or pedestrians throwing objects at cars or trucks. This is all extremely unsafe, criminal behaviour, and it is appropriate that our laws recognise it. People need to be able to travel around our city safely.”