Not just rogue motorists, even irresponsible cyclists could be in trouble these days. Hit-and-run cyclists in the Victorian state of Australia, for instance, can now be imprisoned for up to five years, as well as receiving a $68,000 fine.
Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas said the tougher penalties, including for dangerous riding offences and for cyclists who damage property and flee, were effective as of today.
"The Brumby Government has responded to the concerns of the community and is taking action to improve safety on Victoria's roads for the benefit of all road users," Mr Pallas said.
"With these tough new measures we are stepping up efforts to make our roads safer and meet our ambitious arrive alive target to lower the road toll by a further 30 per cent by 2017.
"These new penalties will help police tackle reckless riding by cyclists and reduce the likelihood of pedestrians, other cyclists or drivers suffering serious injury."
Mr Pallas said the changes would increase penalties for offences including careless riding; dangerous riding; and failing to stop, render assistance, exchange details or report to police following a crash.
"We're driving home to cyclists the need for them to obey road laws or be punished. There are now harsher consequences for what are serious offences," he said.
"The new laws put cyclists on a similar footing to motorists when it comes to being charged with serious traffic offences and also apply to cyclists riding on roads and bike paths.
"Victoria is leading the nation on road safety and if everyone obeyed the road rules we can continue to reduce the impact of road trauma and save lives."
Maximum penalties under the new Road Legislation Amendment Act 2009 passed by Parliament earlier this month include:
• For dangerous riding - $13,610 or prison for 12 months, or both;
• For careless riding of a bicycle - $681 for a first offence and $1361 for a subsequent offence;
• If 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 prison; and
• If property is damaged by a cyclist and the rider has not immediately stopped and offered assistance - $284 or seven days' prison for a first offence and $567 or prison for between seven and 14 days for a subsequent offence.
Maximum penalties under previous regulations include:
• For riding a bicycle in a dangerous, careless or reckless manner - $567; and
• If a person is injured or property damaged by a cyclist, and the cyclist hasn't immediately stopped and offered assistance - $340.
All penalties are effective today, except those for careless riding, which will come into force later this year.