When It Comes to Saving Lives, a Metre Matters

A metre matters

The Greens today announced they will push for laws across Australia to make cycling safer in a campaign side by side with the Amy Gillett Foundation's ‘A Metre Matters’ movement.

"Every year in Australia, an average of 35 bicycle riders are killed and more than 9,500 are seriously injured.  Passing laws will cost us nothing but it will be safer for our kids to ride to school," Greens Transport spokesperson Lynn MacLaren MLC said today.

“Like Greens in other states, I will introduce a Bill in WA requiring drivers to leave a minimum distance when overtaking bicycle riders – of 1 metre on roads up to 60km/h, and 1.5 metres on faster roads," Ms MacLaren said.

“The ACT Greens have initiated a year-long inquiry into improving the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users," Ms MacLaren said. 

Senator for Western Australia and author of the Greens’ Bike Vision plan, Scott Ludlam, said he is going to campaign for nationally consistent laws. 

“In addition to safe passing distance laws, we need to see better cycling infrastructure in Australia’s cities and regional centres.  For too long Federal Budgets have completely ignored the nation’s cycling needs. 

“We’ve gotten off to a good start in the City of Fremantle, where last night the Council embraced a cycling plan that incorporates much of the Greens’ Bike Vision,” said Senator Ludlam.

Heinrich Benz of the WA Bicycle Transport Alliance said “I’ve been talking about safe passing distances in WA for the past three or four years. Ninety per cent of cycling deaths involve a motor vehicle. I have always thought it is appropriate that it’s put out to parliament so that law makers can make cycling safer. This also provides an incentive for people to cycle and in turn reduces congestion.”

Amy Gillett Foundation Chief Executive Officer Tracey Gaudry said “Everyone has the right to ride safely for work and play. Legislation supporting a minimum overtaking distance is one of a number of connected initiatives to foster greater acceptance of cycling in our culture, and help drivers and bicycle riders share our roads more safely.”

“This action by Greens across the country calling for legislative review to make it safer for bicycle riders on our roads highlights the importance of this issue. It is vital to achieve bi-partisan support for minimum overtaking distance legislation in states and territories, with the ultimate outcome being national unity through amendment of the Australian Road Rules. Communities across Australia have galvanised in support of this movement,” Ms Gaudry said. 

A one-metre legislated minimum gap has been introduced in Europe and in nearly half the states in the USA. 

Learn more about Bike Vision here: http://www.greenswa.net.au/bikevision

Background: http://www.amygillett.org.au/