AROUND THE COUNTRY
Across the country, governments are moving to create safer roads for riding bikes. Queensland started a two-year trial of minimum distance passing laws in April 2014, which resulted in “almost two-thirds of bicycle riders in Queensland [noticing] an increase in the space drivers give them since the legislation was introduced.” South Australia and ACT governments have followed suit, legislating a minimum passing distance in August and November 2015, respectively. The WA parliament is currently debating metre matters legislation tabled by Greens MP Lynne MacLaren, and Tasmania recently introduced new road rules that make it safer for motorists and cyclists to share the road, in addition to outlining that a safe passing distance is 1 - 1.5 metres.
At a local government level, Greens councillors in Victoria have been working hard to create safer bicycle lanes, shared pathways and bike parking facilities.
In the ACT, Greens MP Shane Rattenbury was instrumental in establishing the ACT’s Inquiry Into Vulnerable Road Users, which recommended the ACT government consider changing the road rules to include a minimum overtaking distance of 1m on roads with speed limits up to 60km/h and 1.5m on faster roads. The ACT government accepted the recommendation and recently began their own minimum passing distance law trial.
If we can change the Victorian road rules, Victoria will be a safer place to ride bikes, encouraging more people to get on their bikes.
SHARE THE ROAD
New A Metre Matters laws are needed, but they won’t make our roads safe without stronger education, better bicycle infrastructure and traffic calming.
The Greens support lower speed limits in residential and business areas, to calm the traffic flow. This also means safer streets for pedestrians.
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber led the campaign for stronger penalties for ‘dooring’ – when car doors are opened into the path of a cyclist. A parliamentary inquiry into his ‘Dooring Bill’ led to stronger penalties.
We want a better share of the road budget spent on bicycle infrastructure, including fast-tracking the Principle Bicycle Network, which is the plan for main bike transport routes.
Bike riders pay tax for road upgrades, just the same as car drivers. In fact, most bike riders are also car drivers, but they help everyone out by leaving their cars at home when they hop on a bike. So it is only fair that road spending should reflect the growing number of bicycle riders who share the road.
We would start by fixing up high crash-danger areas and providing separated lanes and bicycle signalling in high traffic areas for bikes.
The Greens support better road safety education. This includes questions about sharing the road with bike riders in all driving tests and in road safety education at schools.
We also have a plan for 40 new ‘Parkiteer’ bike cages at railway stations, to encourage people to leave their cars at home and ride to the station, knowing that their bike will be parked securely.