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Police crack down on road users in Sydney CBD

Last month marked the highest number of road fatalities in NSW since May 2013.

According to the latest statistics released by NSW Transport, 164 people have lost their lives since the beginning of this year.

Given the shocking nature of these figures, the police carried out a one-day operation in the Sydney CBD that resulted in a whopping 664 infringement notices issued to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

Commander of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Assistant Commissioner, John Hartley, said Operation Pedro was aimed to help road users understand the importance of safety.

"Improving the behaviour of all road users saves lives. Police will continue these types of operations to remind drivers, riders, cyclists and pedestrians that they need to do all they can to reduce the likelihood of becoming a statistic," he added.

How bad are the numbers?

The pedestrian road toll presents the bleakest picture. So far this year, 32 pedestrians have lost their lives on the roads - this is the highest number of pedestrian fatalities for this period since 2013.

There have been 29 passenger deaths since the beginning of this year - again indicating a peak compared to the last two years.

Deaths in metropolitan areas have risen by 23 per cent. However, on a positive note, the toll on country roads shows a steady decline.

Details of Operation Pedro

The operation was carried out on Thursday June 25 2015, from 6am to 6pm.

Officers issued infringement notices to 72 cyclists who were found ignoring traffic lights; another 54 were found riding on the footpath and 57 cyclists were ticketed for other offences. This is in addition to a shocking number who chose not to wear a helmet - 234 were found riding their bicycle without an appropriate helmet.

Pedestrians, too, were targeted as part of the crackdown and 11 were issued infringement notices, while 34 received warnings.

As for motorists, 202 notices were handed out and nine charges laid.

Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said the operation highlighted the need for all road users to be more mindful in the Sydney CBD.

"Operation Pedro, in line with other joint road safety operations with the NSW Centre for Road Safety, is about educating all road users on responsible behaviour," he commented.

Reactions from the community

In a June 26 2015 article published in the Daily Telegraph, a spokeswoman for the lobby group Bicycle NSW said the police operation was not a solution.

"We fully agree all road users must obey all road rules, but we can't see how Operation Pedro will address the main cause of cycling injury - in 79 per cent of the cases the motorist is at fault," Sophie Bartho said to the newspaper.

According to Bicycle NSW, the issue could be resolved by separated cycle lanes. Sophie Bartho commented they are "the safest way for cyclists to travel".

Earlier this month, hundreds of protestors gathered at Martin Place to highlight the need for measures to make the roads safer for cyclists.

Bicycle NSW CEO Ray Rice said they wanted the government to take action.

"We are demanding the government show genuine and immediate action for bicycle rider safety, by meeting their commitments to deliver safe cycling infrastructure. They must be to retain the College Street cycleway and to deliver the network of cycleways as per the promised Sydney City Centre Access Strategy," he explained.

Bicycle NSW commitment to the College Street cycleway is surprising given the fact that the vast majority of cyclists on College Street do not use the cycleway.