The Road Ahead : February March 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 8 THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2014 COMMUNITY | FEATURE WITH MOTOR VEHICLES and bicycles sharing the road an ongoing area of tension, the first major examination of cycling laws in Queensland has produced 68 recommendations aimed at reducing the angst and making roads safer for cyclists. Following the release of A New Direction for Cycling In Queensland report in November last year, Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson announced a two- year trial of the so-called one-metre rule. This rule would mean that motorists must maintain a minimum distance of one metre when passing a cyclist in a 60km/h or less zone, and 1.5 metres when travelling above 60. This change is tipped to be introduced some time in the first quarter of this year. It has caused much discussion and there are varying thoughts among the motoring and cycling communities on implementing a minimum overtaking distance. "The RACQ strongly believes in motorists giving cyclists at least a metre space when overtaking, but good road rules should be practical, enforceable and improve the safety for all road users," RACQ's Executive Manager Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said. "We're not sure the proposed change will achieve any of these outcomes and, the fact is, in order for our transport system to work, we all have to share the road safely. Education around safe passing distances will be far more effective and actually lead to a safer and more courteous road sharing environment." Andrew Demack from Bicycle Queensland (BQ), an advocacy group promoting safe, every-day bicycle riding, said that while he supports the idea of trialling the law, it may not be effective in changing driver behaviour. "The places around the world with the best record of cycling safety focus on separation of motorised traffic and lower speed limits," Mr Demack said. "We would love this to really work well, but we think it's really important that the State Government continues to build a bikeway network that enables people to ride separately from motorised traffic, where that's possible, and also to look at the issue of speed limits, particularly on urban streets." Mr Spalding agreed that better bicycling infrastructure was needed. "Infrastructure that separates faster, heavier vehicles from lighter, slower vehicles is definitely the safest solution," Mr Spalding said. Mr Demack also added that a good awareness and safety campaign around the new law would be vital. "The safety campaign should raise awareness of car drivers about how they behave around bike riders, and also for bike riders to be more aware of their cycling on the road to change OUR ROADS CAN BE A FRAGILE ECO-SYSTEM WHERE MOTORISTS AND CYCLISTS CO-EXIST, NEVER QUITE FEELING SAFE IN EACH OTHER'S PRESENCE. BUT WILL A REVIEW OF QUEENSLAND'S CYCLING LAWS LEAD TO SAFER SHARING OF OUR ROADS? STORY BELINDA PETERS IMAGES: THINKSTOCK.