Motorists may soon be forced to leave a one-metre buffer zone when driving past cyclists if a bill by the Victorian Greens passes through state parliament.
The reform is a Greens election commitment and supports the Amy Gillet Foundation campaign to put minimum passing distances into the road rules. Other states are ahead with the changes that have proven to be successful and it can be argued that Victoria is being left behind. “Cycling is booming in Victoria but bike riders are being put at risk,” Greens transport spokesperson Samantha Dunn told the Newsroom.
Ms Dunn said current road rules are believed to be confusing and unsafe. “This bill gives certainty to drivers and cyclists as it takes the guesswork out of what a safe passing distance actually is.”
Graeme Godsman, a leisure cyclist from Elwood, has been cycling for as long as he can remember. He is disappointed with the behaviour of cyclists and believes roads will be safer for all if the bill is passed and motorists abide by it.
He told the Newsroom: “I am delighted a lot of the cycle lanes are being used for cyclists to commute in but they’re doing a lot of racing and they’ve got less regard for people in motor cars. By their actions they demonstrate they don’t give a hoot until there’s an accident and then of course the driver of the car is at fault.
“It’s hard enough to drive a car safely in Melbourne, especially in peak hour, so we all have to consider road users of either bicycles or cars.”
Margaret, 62, a motorist from West Park, said she thinks the bill is silly: “I think the distance is an excellent idea but virtually impossible to monitor, and the safest way would be just to use the width of the bicycle lane. I am a motorist and my daughter cycles to work. She’s had one very bad accident involving cars.
“I’ve just seen a cyclist go through the red light and go through the pedestrians moments ago. I live near the Brunswick area where cyclists do crazy things all the time. I think the cyclists’ path is important but the legislation is too minute and impossible to monitor”.
The bill is currently being tabled and negotiations to gain support for the bill are under way. – Suzanne Masri
Top photo by Sarah Batt.