City News

Cyclists push to legislate minimum overtaking distance

COS cycle safety awareness

A tragic cycling accident on Southern Cross Drive has prompted the City of Sydney to respond with a strong endorsement of a new safety campaign dubbed Metre Matters.

The March 16 accident between a vehicle and a number of cyclists has left six hospitalised with limb, head and suspected spinal injuries.

Last year, the number of rider deaths on roads in NSW doubled to 15. Nationally, the toll stood at 46 bike rider deaths in 2013.

Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, delivered a minute which urged councillors to consider the statistics.

“Research shows that the greatest risk for bike riders is on roads where there are no cycleways,” she said.

“The figures emphasise the need for safe cycling infrastructure and a greater awareness by motorists that there are more bike riders about.”

Within the City of Sydney, the number of cyclists has risen by 113 per cent since March 2010.

“Safety is a critical factor in the design of our cycleways and we work closely with the NSW Government,” Cr Moore said.

“We take the safety of all our road users seriously and our Streetshare program aims to address the behaviour of everyone who uses our roads- motorists, bike riders and pedestrians.”

For a number of years, bike groups have been calling for tougher laws and major improvements to bike infrastructure and road safety education.

The current Australian Road Rules allow drivers to make judgement calls on leaving a ‘sufficient distance to avoid collision’ with a cyclist, while state transport authorities just ‘recommend’ that drivers leave at least one metre when over taking a bike rider.

The Amy Gillett Foundation runs a ‘Metre Matters’ campaign to advocate for the introduction of legislation that requires drivers to leave a minimum of one metre when overtaking a cyclist and penalties for drivers to breach the one metre distance rule.

With the support of the councillors, Cr Moore has recommended that council endorse the ‘Metre Matters’ campaign and call on the state and federal governments to take action to achieve a uniform, national minimum overtaking distance.

Additionally, the Lord Mayor suggests that the CEO ensures the Amy Gillet Foundation’s ‘Metre Matters’ petition is promoted through council facilities including community centers, libraries, pools and staff in the City of Sydney’s Streetshare program.