Pedal Power ACT welcomes the ACT Government announcement today that it will permanently retain minimum distance passing laws.
Pedal Power has long advocated for minimum distance passing laws to improve the safety for people riding bikes. These reforms were achieved as part of a national campaign led by cycle safety organisation the Amy Gillet Foundation.
The trial of the law ended almost a year ago and we have been eagerly awaiting the outcome of the review. Making the law permanent sends a signal to people who cycle that they are welcome to ride on Canberra roads. It sends a signal to drivers that they need to share the road with other users. The laws are important not just for people who already ride, but to encourage more people to take up cycling for transport and recreation.
Anecdotally Pedal Power members are telling us they’ve seen the behaviour of motorist improve in the three years since the laws first came in, and this is backed up by the report which shows a reduction in crashes.
The report has found strong awareness and support for the laws – but more work needs to be done to help people understand what these minimum passing distances actually look like and how to drive safely around cyclists.
Legal reform is an important step, but it needs to be backed up by education and enforcement. Pedal Power ACT has recently received funding from an ACT Government road safety grant to develop educational tools to show these distances in relation to the real size of a car and a bike, and we’ll be working with ACT Policing on using them in their operations.
The next step now is for the ACT Government to implement a broader campaign of education and enforcement around these laws. In particular, we’d like to see signage installed, as in other jurisdictions, around the city and along popular cycling routes, like Uriarra Road, where around 1,000 people will be cycling in this Sunday’s Fitz’s Challenge event.