Greens introduce Safe Passing Distances Bill to protect cyclists

WA Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren will today introduce a private member’s Bill to establish a minimum one metre safe distance for cyclists on roads in an effort to decrease accidents which cause death and serious injury.

Cycling advocates, who will gather on the steps of Parliament this morning to launch the Bill, have welcomed the Greens’ Road Traffic Amendment (Keeping Safe Distances from Bicycles) Bill, which will require drivers of vehicles to leave a minimum distance when overtaking bicycle riders: one metre on roads up to 60 kilometres an hour, and 1.5 metres on other roads. 

Ms MacLaren said “This Bill is in response to the compelling case put by cycling advocates including the Amy Gillett Foundation, who have been campaigning for this safety measure among others to save lives.”

“Government inquiries in Queensland and in the ACT have canvassed methods to improve road safety for vulnerable road users. After carefully weighing up the evidence, a trial of the one metre rule is underway now in Queensland. The ACT inquiry reports next month. Meanwhile, Greens MPs in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia have been working on similar Bills. Our goal is to establish national road rules to increase cycling safety and participation for all ages.”

“I really don’t see why the Barnett Government would hesitate to implement a simple road rule which can prevent serious injury and save lives,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“Six cyclists died on WA roads last year. About 90 percent of cycling fatalities involve motor vehicles. More than 1300 cyclists required hospital treatment for injuries suffered in accidents.”

Safe passing distances are part of the Greens Bike Vision, along with improved infrastructure, end-of-trip facilities, separated bike paths and education programmes.

Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam, who was this week awarded a Planning Institute of Australia national award for his planning for Perth, including the development of the Greens Bike Vision: said: “This is an important and timely Bill that complements the Greens Bike Vision plan for the metropolitan bike network.”

“We will continue to work at a Federal level to secure Commonwealth funding for cycling and I look forward to my colleague Lynn MacLaren securing the older parties’ support for this important safety initiative,” Senator Ludlam concluded.

Download the Greens Bike Vision here:  http://www.greenswa.net.au/bikevision.html