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Will proposed cycling laws make roads safer?

By Canfan 21 September 2015 96

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Canberra drivers will need to keep a minimum distance from cyclists under a new trial announced by Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury this week.

The media release is below.

Minister for Justice, Shane Rattenbury, has announced that, from the 1st of November motorists will be required to provide a minimum distance when overtaking bicycles as part of a trial of new road safety laws in the ACT.

“A Legislative Assembly inquiry into vulnerable road users last year identified a range of measures that could be introduced in the ACT to improve safety for cyclists and other road users,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“One recommendation was the introduction of a minimum overtaking law (also known as the ‘metre matters’ rule) that requires motorists to provide a minimum distance of 1 metre when overtaking a cyclist in speed zones at or below 60km/h and 1.5 metres in speed zones above 60km/h

“The ACT will commence a two year trial of the metre matters rule commencing on the 1st of November.

“When driving a motor vehicle, we need to remember that we are in control of around 1,200 to 2,000 kilograms of metal, travelling at more than 12 metres a second when driving at 50km/h – which can kill in an instant.

“On the road, cyclists are particularly vulnerable because they are smaller and have less crash protection than motorists.

“It is important that we continue to make it easier, safer and more convenient for people to choose cycling as their preferred method of transport.

“The Amy Gillett Foundation has campaigned nationally for the introduction of the overtaking distance and has been supported in the ACT by local advocacy group Pedal Power ACT. Some success has been achieved in QLD where the laws have been introduced and SA, where they will be introduced soon.

Amy Gillett Foundation interim chief executive officer Belinda Clark said the trial will make bike riding safer in the ACT.

“Amending the road rules to mandate a minimum overtaking distance will help reduce crashes between motor vehicles and bike riders by changing behaviour,” Ms Clark said.

“A metre matters because it provides a practical measurement for drivers when overtaking bike riders. As Australia’s leading bike safety organisation, our mission is to achieve zero bike fatalities in Australia and this move will make a difference in achieving that goal.

“This trial is about sharing the road safely together. A metre matters on all roads in the ACT, regardless of whether there are bicycle lanes or not.

“The ACT has joined Queensland as a leader in cycling safety, strengthening its position as a bicycle friendly city, and we congratulate the ACT government for implementing the new road safety laws. We look forward to a successful trial so that the amended road rules stay in place after the trial ends in November 2017,” Ms Clark said.

“To enable drivers to provide the minimum overtaking distances on narrow roads or roads with narrow lanes, motorists will be allowed to cross centre lines, straddle lane-lines and drive on painted islands, provided the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and that it is safe to do so,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“On busy roads and narrow roads, cyclists can help motorists out by riding to the left of the road or bicycle lane, and riding single file,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The overtaking law will be accompanied by new laws that allow riders to remain on their bicycles when crossing at pedestrian crossings.

Cyclists must ride slowly across pedestrian crossings under the conditions of the trial and must also keep to the left of the crossing and give way to any pedestrians.

“One of the more important aspects of this pedestrian crossing trial is for cyclists to slow to 10km/h on the approach to the crossing, check for any approaching traffic and be prepared to stop,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“This is to allow motorists to see and respond to the cyclist before they make the crossing.

“An awareness campaign will commence in mid-October to educate road users about these changes and ensure everyone understands the new rules,” said Mr Rattenbury.

Over to you. Will these new laws make the roads safer for cyclists and drivers?

What’s Your opinion?


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Will proposed cycling laws make roads safer?
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wildturkeycanoe 6:55 am 13 Nov 15

DinCanberra said :

As a driver and cyclist I was wondering how much cyclists impact drivers life’s.

According to the ABS, the average weekly salary for Canberrans is $1663. Based on a 37.5 hour week, that equates to about $44.35 per hour or 74 cents per minute.

Say a cyclist dare ride on the road and hold you up for 30 seconds, they have cost you, on average, less than 40 cents of your time.

Are you really willing to risk the life of another person for 40 cents?

Why don’t drivers just chill out, give cyclists some room and you will find that MOST will be thankful and will attempt to stay out of your way as best they can.

Using your logic, why don’t cyclists use shared paths and take a little longer to get to their destination instead of the fastest route which disrupts drivers? Obviously time is of a lesser issue to cyclists or they would be using a car to get to work, if indeed that is their motivation for riding in the first place. It seems to me that the ones causing the issues are not commuter cyclists but the Tour de France wannabes. They are obviously willing to place their lives in danger for less than 40c.

dungfungus 5:26 pm 12 Nov 15

DinCanberra said :

As a driver and cyclist I was wondering how much cyclists impact drivers life’s.

According to the ABS, the average weekly salary for Canberrans is $1663. Based on a 37.5 hour week, that equates to about $44.35 per hour or 74 cents per minute.

Say a cyclist dare ride on the road and hold you up for 30 seconds, they have cost you, on average, less than 40 cents of your time.

Are you really willing to risk the life of another person for 40 cents?

Why don’t drivers just chill out, give cyclists some room and you will find that MOST will be thankful and will attempt to stay out of your way as best they can.

Why are cyclists that earn that sort of money unanimously opposed to paying even 0.01c towards registration and CTP for the bikes they ride?
A lot of motorists have to drive because of work requirements or physical limitations so they don’t have the choice to ride even they wanted to.
When the argument is skewed to cost, the cycle lobby are excluded.

DinCanberra 2:37 pm 12 Nov 15

As a driver and cyclist I was wondering how much cyclists impact drivers life’s.

According to the ABS, the average weekly salary for Canberrans is $1663. Based on a 37.5 hour week, that equates to about $44.35 per hour or 74 cents per minute.

Say a cyclist dare ride on the road and hold you up for 30 seconds, they have cost you, on average, less than 40 cents of your time.

Are you really willing to risk the life of another person for 40 cents?

Why don’t drivers just chill out, give cyclists some room and you will find that MOST will be thankful and will attempt to stay out of your way as best they can.

Maya123 4:09 pm 06 Oct 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

carnardly said :

there were 3 mowers single file driving south over commonwealth bridge yesterday morning in peak morning hour traffic. they were going no more than 40 kmph in the right hand lane. cars in the lane behind them were patient and either waited behind them, or changed into the left lane when they could.

It really isn’t hard.

Why does replacing the word mower with cyclist conjure up all sort of rabid hate?

Are you absolutely sure the drivers were all patient and considerate? Did you feel the emotion going through every single person’s mind? I have a suspicion that statement has no facts to back it up at all.
At peak hour 40km/h is the expected speed anyway, so there is no big deal with one lane going considerably slower than the rest. You also haven’t considered the fact that Floriade’s temporary traffic lights have a big impact on that stretch of road’s speed presently. I don’t think you’d have people getting irate about a couple of mowers who most likely pulled on to the median strip to tidy up the grass there.

Maya123 said :

I once had the tray of a semi pass near my head. It appeared to go on and on and meanwhile I struggled to not wobble and deviate even a fraction from the line I was riding, as this was VERY close. This on a double lane road without any other traffic. In other words, the semi driver of the semi could EASILY have given me space, but refused to. I can only equate that incident with extreme hate and disregard for the well-being of people who are cycling. A psychopath basically behind the wheel of that truck.

Would the 1 meter rule have made that much difference? It is not easy for a large truck to judge a 1 meter gap on the left/blind side of the vehicle and it is not expected that a semi should change lanes to go around a cyclist, or is it? Has the 1 meter just become 3? You go on about road sharing, but now cannot expect trucks to share the road with cyclists, without treating them as a full size automobile.
Like the saying goes “You give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile”

The last comments are ridiculous. As I said, there was no other traffic on the road and two lanes. The truck driver could see me on approach, so had plenty of time to move over partially to the other lane to give me a wide berth. As they chose not to, is as Grrrr said, “The example above was almost certainly deliberate.” Which to me equates to a psychopath behind the wheel of that truck; someone who gets pleasure out of not caring about the danger they deliberately place others in. They likely knew EXACTLY where the tray of their truck was in relation to my head.
“Has the 1 meter just become 3” When I am driving I take responsibility and give a wide berth. I give as wide a gap as I can without getting extreme, and if that is three metres, than so it is. If I can’t give the bare minimum of a gap of a least a metre (preferably more), I follow and wait until it is safe to do so. As I saw is normal practice in Europe. Not a problem there, so why is it a problem here for a small group of drivers?

Grrrr 2:21 pm 06 Oct 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

It is not easy for a large truck to judge a 1 meter gap on the left/blind side of the vehicle and it is not expected that a semi should change lanes to go around a cyclist, or is it?

Any truck driver who can’t judge 1m from the left side of their vehicle needs to hand their licence back. They’re probably banging into all kinds of things anyway. So yes, it is easy. If you genuinely believe otherwise you should probably also hand your licence in, too.

Yes, it’s expected that any vehicle bigger than a mini will have to partly change lanes to get around a cyclist. Truck drivers taking busy roads who can’t overtake cyclists should either exercise some patience, or choose a different route and / or time of day.

In my experience, most truck drivers are more skilled drivers than the average motorist. The example above was almost certainly deliberate – and the 1m rule makes it easier to prosecute such bad driving.

wildturkeycanoe 6:53 am 26 Sep 15

carnardly said :

there were 3 mowers single file driving south over commonwealth bridge yesterday morning in peak morning hour traffic. they were going no more than 40 kmph in the right hand lane. cars in the lane behind them were patient and either waited behind them, or changed into the left lane when they could.

It really isn’t hard.

Why does replacing the word mower with cyclist conjure up all sort of rabid hate?

Are you absolutely sure the drivers were all patient and considerate? Did you feel the emotion going through every single person’s mind? I have a suspicion that statement has no facts to back it up at all.
At peak hour 40km/h is the expected speed anyway, so there is no big deal with one lane going considerably slower than the rest. You also haven’t considered the fact that Floriade’s temporary traffic lights have a big impact on that stretch of road’s speed presently. I don’t think you’d have people getting irate about a couple of mowers who most likely pulled on to the median strip to tidy up the grass there.

Maya123 said :

I once had the tray of a semi pass near my head. It appeared to go on and on and meanwhile I struggled to not wobble and deviate even a fraction from the line I was riding, as this was VERY close. This on a double lane road without any other traffic. In other words, the semi driver of the semi could EASILY have given me space, but refused to. I can only equate that incident with extreme hate and disregard for the well-being of people who are cycling. A psychopath basically behind the wheel of that truck.

Would the 1 meter rule have made that much difference? It is not easy for a large truck to judge a 1 meter gap on the left/blind side of the vehicle and it is not expected that a semi should change lanes to go around a cyclist, or is it? Has the 1 meter just become 3? You go on about road sharing, but now cannot expect trucks to share the road with cyclists, without treating them as a full size automobile.
Like the saying goes “You give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile”

Nilrem 4:54 am 26 Sep 15

Felix the Cat said :

It’s only cyclists that break the laws and behave badly on the roads, never motorists…

https://www.youtube.com/user/DashCamOwnersAustral

Now, THAT was scary. Be careful out there everybody!

Felix the Cat 11:35 am 25 Sep 15

It’s only cyclists that break the laws and behave badly on the roads, never motorists…

https://www.youtube.com/user/DashCamOwnersAustral

Maya123 10:54 am 25 Sep 15

Nilrem said :

gooterz said :

Nilrem said :

countach said :

As a guideline, it’s fine. As a law, it’s idiotic. You can’t get out and use a tape measure, and neither can the police. So in reality it’s basically unenforceable. Even if the police got in court and said yeah it was obviously closer than 1 meter, you’d be arguing about parallex error and angles and stuff and it would be thrown out.

I agree, enforcement is difficult. If making it a law increases compliance by a fraction over it being a guideline, it’s worth it. Laws can have an educative dimension.

Missing the obvious that the bike is moving.

Take for example a car moving in traffic going 15km/h and a bike rolls up from behind going 20km/h.
The driver can get fined for being too close yet has no way to stop the bike from getting that close.

Socially the end result is all the drivers are going to hate the cyclists and try to discourage them from riding.

Next thing you know we’ll have a law where everyone has to keep left when supermarket shopping with trolleys. Or those with trolleys should be a metre away from shoppers with baskets.

Whoa there! The current law states that a motorist overtaking a cyclist has to leave a reasonable distance. Does quantifying this distance to a metre mean that “all the drivers are going to hate the cyclists and try to discourage them from riding”? I doubt it. It’s making the requirement to provide a reasonable clearance more quantifiable, that’s all. I doubt that many people will be fined, but it will encourage safer overtaking. Personally, when I am driving, if possible, I give cyclists a couple of metres, because it is quite disconcerting having vehicles passing by close with a big speed differential.

“it is quite disconcerting having vehicles passing by close with a big speed differential.”

I can agree to that comment. I once had the tray of a semi pass near my head. It appeared to go on and on and meanwhile I struggled to not wobble and deviate even a fraction from the line I was riding, as this was VERY close. This on a double lane road without any other traffic. In other words, the semi driver of the semi could EASILY have given me space, but refused to. I can only equate that incident with extreme hate and disregard for the well-being of people who are cycling. A psychopath basically behind the wheel of that truck. I was an experienced rider, but imagine if it had been a wobbly new rider. There would have been a good chance that they would have gone under the wheels. Often when I read of people’s hatred of people who use a bicycle as transport that driver comes to mind. And no, there was no off-road path there I could have used, which is a comment often thrown about by bike haters. It was a quiet road with plenty of room or all.

Nilrem 10:36 am 25 Sep 15

gooterz said :

Nilrem said :

countach said :

As a guideline, it’s fine. As a law, it’s idiotic. You can’t get out and use a tape measure, and neither can the police. So in reality it’s basically unenforceable. Even if the police got in court and said yeah it was obviously closer than 1 meter, you’d be arguing about parallex error and angles and stuff and it would be thrown out.

I agree, enforcement is difficult. If making it a law increases compliance by a fraction over it being a guideline, it’s worth it. Laws can have an educative dimension.

Missing the obvious that the bike is moving.

Take for example a car moving in traffic going 15km/h and a bike rolls up from behind going 20km/h.
The driver can get fined for being too close yet has no way to stop the bike from getting that close.

Socially the end result is all the drivers are going to hate the cyclists and try to discourage them from riding.

Next thing you know we’ll have a law where everyone has to keep left when supermarket shopping with trolleys. Or those with trolleys should be a metre away from shoppers with baskets.

Whoa there! The current law states that a motorist overtaking a cyclist has to leave a reasonable distance. Does quantifying this distance to a metre mean that “all the drivers are going to hate the cyclists and try to discourage them from riding”? I doubt it. It’s making the requirement to provide a reasonable clearance more quantifiable, that’s all. I doubt that many people will be fined, but it will encourage safer overtaking. Personally, when I am driving, if possible, I give cyclists a couple of metres, because it is quite disconcerting having vehicles passing by close with a big speed differential.

rosscoact 6:19 am 25 Sep 15

Nilrem said :

countach said :

As a guideline, it’s fine. As a law, it’s idiotic. You can’t get out and use a tape measure, and neither can the police. So in reality it’s basically unenforceable. Even if the police got in court and said yeah it was obviously closer than 1 meter, you’d be arguing about parallex error and angles and stuff and it would be thrown out.

I agree, enforcement is difficult. If making it a law increases compliance by a fraction over it being a guideline, it’s worth it. Laws can have an educative dimension.

No you can’t measure, but the police can use such a law to fine somebody they observe acting like a knob and driving too close to a cyclist. That’s why you have a law.

carnardly 10:57 pm 24 Sep 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

Felix the Cat said :

I see plenty of mowers driving along the roads, they are slower than cyclists. Why would the police pull them over? They are just as entitled to drive on the road as you are, and cyclists are. But nobody posts ill-informed rants on RiotACT about them, only about cyclists.

I have only ever seen them dart across or along a road if there is no footpath/cyclway to follow. To get to their suburb of work for the day they cart the mowers in trailers, because that is the considerate and efficient way. Rarely do they travel on interconnecting link roads like Parkes Way.

there were 3 mowers single file driving south over commonwealth bridge yesterday morning in peak morning hour traffic. they were going no more than 40 kmph in the right hand lane. cars in the lane behind them were patient and either waited behind them, or changed into the left lane when they could.

It really isn’t hard. Why does replacing the word mower with cyclist conjure up all sort of rabid hate?

carnardly 10:54 pm 24 Sep 15

Masquara said :

How about cyclists stop cycling across pedestrian crossings?

why? it’s legal and has been for 12 months…

gooterz 9:33 pm 24 Sep 15

Nilrem said :

countach said :

As a guideline, it’s fine. As a law, it’s idiotic. You can’t get out and use a tape measure, and neither can the police. So in reality it’s basically unenforceable. Even if the police got in court and said yeah it was obviously closer than 1 meter, you’d be arguing about parallex error and angles and stuff and it would be thrown out.

I agree, enforcement is difficult. If making it a law increases compliance by a fraction over it being a guideline, it’s worth it. Laws can have an educative dimension.

Missing the obvious that the bike is moving.

Take for example a car moving in traffic going 15km/h and a bike rolls up from behind going 20km/h.
The driver can get fined for being too close yet has no way to stop the bike from getting that close.

Socially the end result is all the drivers are going to hate the cyclists and try to discourage them from riding.

Next thing you know we’ll have a law where everyone has to keep left when supermarket shopping with trolleys. Or those with trolleys should be a metre away from shoppers with baskets.

MarkE 8:50 pm 24 Sep 15

How many people really believe that changes to the law change people’s behavior? This is just naive optimism.
Half the population won’t even hear about the change to the law because they don’t watch TV news or read newspapers.

Nilrem 5:05 pm 24 Sep 15

countach said :

As a guideline, it’s fine. As a law, it’s idiotic. You can’t get out and use a tape measure, and neither can the police. So in reality it’s basically unenforceable. Even if the police got in court and said yeah it was obviously closer than 1 meter, you’d be arguing about parallex error and angles and stuff and it would be thrown out.

I agree, enforcement is difficult. If making it a law increases compliance by a fraction over it being a guideline, it’s worth it. Laws can have an educative dimension.

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