The safer our roads are, the more people will get on their bikes.
Cycling is a great way to reduce the pressure on our overcrowded roads and public transport. The Victorian Greens encourage people of all ages to get out on their bikes and enjoy the health and well-being benefits of gentle outdoor exercise every day.
Greens MP Samantha Dunn's first priority when she entered the Victorian Parliament was to introduce new minimum passing distance laws. Under the Greens proposal, motor vehicles overtaking a bicycle rider will leave:
» A minimum 1 metre buffer on roads with a speed limit of up to 60 km/h
» A minimum 1.5 metre buffer on roads with a faster speed limit.
The new laws will take the guess-work out of calculating a safe passing distance, so everyone can share the road. They also change the road rules to make it easier for cars to overtake, so that slower bike riders won't hold up traffic.
This would see Victoria catch up with Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania where minimum distance passing laws have already been introduced and the ACT and New South Wales which are currently trialling legislation.
New A Metre Matters laws are needed, but they won’t make our roads safe without stronger education, better bicycle infrastructure and traffic calming.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
Victoria is currently lagging behind states across Australia that are creating safer roads for riding bikes. Currently, three states have already passed minimum passing distance rules while the ACT and New South Wales are trialling legislation to protect our cyclists.
Queensland’s two-year trial of minimum distance passing laws which ended in 2016 resulted in a legislative change due to the positive changes it made. The trial found that “almost two-thirds of bicycle riders in Queensland [noticing] an increase in the space drivers give them since the legislation was introduced.”
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
Bike riders pay tax for road upgrades just as car drivers do. In reality, most bike riders are also car drivers but they help everyone out by leaving their cars at home when they hop on a bike. It’s only fair that road spending should reflect the growing number of bicycle riders who share the road.
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has also 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.
WHAT WE WILL DO:
- Fix up high crash-danger areas and providing separated lanes and bicycle signalling in high traffic areas for bikes must be a priority.
- Invest a better share of the road budget on bicycle infrastructure, including fast-tracking the Principle Bicycle Network, which is the plan for main bike transport routes.
- Support better road safety education, including adding questions about sharing the road with bike riders in all driving tests and in road safety education at schools.
- Encourage people to leave their cars at home, and use public transport services by adding 40 new ‘Parkiteer’ bike cages at railway stations so commuters know their bikes will be secure when they choose to ride.