Educational materials were launched yesterday to educate drivers about safely passing people on bikes. The materials were launched by ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury MLA with Pedal Power ACT, ACT Policing and national cycle safety organisation the Amy Gillett Foundation.
The materials have been developed by Pedal Power ACT to educate drivers about the passing laws which mandate the minimum distance we must allow when overtaking bikes on the road.
The materials take the form of a ‘passing mat’ showing life-size images of a car and bike relative to the legal passing distances of 1 and 1.5 metres. The mats will be used in Pedal Power’s education programs, and provided to ACT Policing for use in their traffic operations campaigns.
The mat gives drivers a clear understanding of exactly what legal passing distances look like, and how much space we need to allow when overtaking bikes safely and according to the law.
We are really pleased to have developed these materials with support from an ACT Road Safety Grant, and in conjunction with ACT Policing. It is an exciting project which is very much world’s best practice in road safety education. The design is based on materials produced by the West Midlands Police in the UK in an award-winning education and enforcement campaign which led to a 20% reduction in cycling deaths and serious accidents.
Cycle safety organisation the Amy Gillet Foundation and cycling organisations across the country have called for an urgent rollout of education and enforcement campaigns similar to the West Midlands model to tackle the alarming rate of death of cyclists on Australian roads.
The tragic reality is that four people have been killed cycling on roads in our region in less than two years – the most recent only three weeks ago. These deaths are entirely avoidable and we must act now to improve safety on our roads. This collaboration between Pedal Power and police represents an important step forward in driver education.
In the three years since the passing laws were first introduced, we have seen an improvement in driver behaviour in the ACT. But legal reform is not enough – we need a comprehensive education and enforcement campaign to make sure that all drivers are aware of the passing distances and how to share the road safely with people on bikes.
Pedal Power has also called on the ACT Government to conduct a cycling safety audit on all country roads in the ACT and surrounding region, and to install road signage about the passing laws, particularly on roads commonly used by recreational riders.
The materials were launched at Pedal Power’s signature cycling event the Big Canberra Bike Ride where more than one thousand riders came together to cycle through the heart of the city in support of cycle safety and charity partner the Amy Gillet Foundation.