Drivers must leave a one-metre gap when overtaking cyclists on suburban roads according to a new bill Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren will put to state parliament.
Where the speed limit is greater than 60kph, drivers must leave a 1.5m gap.
Ms MacLaren says passing the bill would make life safer for WA’s growing number of cyclists.
“Every year in Australia, an average of 35 bicycle riders are killed and more than 9500 are seriously injured,” she says.
“Passing laws will cost us nothing but it will be safer for our kids to ride to school.”
WA Greens senator Scott Ludlum says the party is teaming up nationally with Amy Gillett Foundation’s A Metre Matters movement, in a bid to get uniform overtaking gap laws.
“In addition to safe passing distance laws, we need to see better cycling infrastructure in Australia’s cities and regional centres,” he says.
“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.
Heinrich Benz of the WA Bicycle Transport Alliance says he’s been talking up the issue for at least four years.
“Ninety per cent of cycling deaths involve a motor vehicle,” he says. “I have always thought it is appropriate that it’s put out to parliament so that lawmakers can make cycling safer.
“This also provides an incentive for people to cycle and in turn reduces congestion.”
Amy Gillett Foundation CEO Tracey Gaudry says the major parties need to get on board.
“It is vital to achieve bipartisan support for minimum overtaking distance legislation in states and territories, with the ultimate outcome being national unity through amendment of the Australian road rules.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER