Give the Space to Bike Riders

Give the Space to Bike Riders

Were asking drivers to slow when passing cyclists and give:

  • at least one metre in speed zones up to 60km/h, and
  • at least one and a half metres in zones over 60km/h.

It’s just a little bit of space for a lot more safe.

Why are we seeing a public education campaign as opposed to ‘metre matters’ legislation as seen in other states?

At this stage, there is insufficient evidence that the introduction of legislation would improve safety.

Consistent with other significant road safety initiatives, community education is one of the most important aspects of achieving behaviour change and usually precedes a regulatory response. The effectiveness of this campaign will be evaluated and the State Government will move to introduce trial legislation if it is deemed ineffective.

The approach of public education, followed by mandated legislation if required, is consistent with Victoria’s successful history of leading road safety behaviour change.

How are drivers going to know how far they are from a cyclist when passing?

A key point of the campaign is to help drivers of cars and heavy vehicles to understand the minimum space to leave when passing a person riding a push bike. The campaign uses visual cues to give people a guide of what one metre looks like, which is approximately an adult’s arm span – as shown in the new television ad. We believe it will be more effective to show, not tell, people what a metre is.

We know that most drivers do the right thing and slow down and allow enough space when they pass a cyclist. But it is evident that people do have difficulty judging the minimum space, which is another important reason for approaching the issue with a comprehensive public education campaign ahead of legislation.

What if it’s a narrow road and there isn’t enough space to give one metre or more?

Bike riders and vehicle drivers have equal rights to use the road, and both cyclists and motorists have an obligation to take care of other road users. At times, this may require people to slow down and be patient until it is safe to pass.

Drivers should always allow safe passing distances for cyclists. Drivers should adjust their behaviour to suit the road environment including slowing down and ensuring they pass cyclists at an appropriate time.

It is equally important that riders follow the road rules and ensure they are highly visible, predictable and being considerate of other road users.

What happens if cyclists are riding two abreast?

Cyclists are legally allowed to ride two abreast on the road and are urged to remain no more than 1.5 metres apart if doing so. Bike riders maximise their visibility to drivers by riding next to each other. We ask cyclists to be courteous when riding two abreast and avoid doing so when it will unnecessarily slow other traffic.

Some roads offer bike lanes. Bike riders are required to use on-road bike lanes unless it is impractical to do so.

How vulnerable are cyclists on the roads?

We know cyclists are among our more vulnerable road users as they are don’t have the benefit of a car cabin or safety features like airbags.

TAC figures show cyclists are 34 times more likely to be seriously injured than vehicle occupants, and 4.5 times more likely to be killed in a crash.

While passing incidents are not among the leading causes of cyclist road trauma (collisions while cyclists are turning right is #1), bike riders can be vulnerable in a passing scenario. For a cyclist, it is threatening to have a vehicle traveling at 60km/h or more approaching unseen from behind. A vehicle’s larger mass and speed can act like a wave of pressure, threatening to destabilise a rider.

What else is the TAC doing to ensure the safety of cyclists?

With growing numbers of cyclists, we need to do more to prevent crashes at intersections, riders being hit by vehicles from behind, and car ‘dooring’.

As part of the Towards Zero 2020 Strategy and Action Plan, the Victorian Government is investing $100 million in the Safer Cyclists and Pedestrian Fund. This includes new, dedicated paths and routes across Victoria, as well as making places safer where people meet.

The focus is on improving routes to train stations and the CBD, creating new routes in regional areas, fulling the ‘missing links’ in the existing bicycle network and pedestrian crossings, markings and signs.

Towards Zero 2020 also includes new safe cycling resources for communities and schools to help further reduce the risks of riding.

The first target of the Towards Zero plan is to reduce the number of lives lost on our roads each year to less than 200 and reduce serious injuries by 15 per cent by 2020.

Behind the scenes of the latest sharing-the-roads cycling safety campaign, Give the Space to Bike Riders encourages drivers to give the space for cyclists to ride safe.