Stop­gap mea­sure


Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Bryce Luff

NEW safe pass­ing dis­tance rules will do lit­tle to im­prove the re­la­tion­ship be­tween mo­torists and cy­clists, ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal cy­cling club pres­i­dent.

From Novem­ber 30, driv­ers over­tak­ing a cy­clist must keep a 1m gap be­tween their car and those on a bike while on a road with a speed limit up to 60km/h. A 1.5m gap will be needed on roads with a speed limit over 60km/h.

Melville Fre­man­tle Cy­cling Club pres­i­dent Russell Miller said the new rules were long over­due, with the re­la­tion­ship be­tween cy­clists and mo­torists as bad as he had seen in 50 years.

But he does not be­lieve all will sud­denly be rosy be­tween driv­ers and cy­clists.

“(The rules) shouldn’t even be nec­es­sary and wouldn’t be if both par­ties re­spected each other,” Mr Miller said.

Atwell cy­clist Mark Pearmine, a truck driver for 27 years, said some “head­way was be­ing made”.

“You can imag­ine the ar­gu­ments I’ve had with my truck driver friends,” he said.

“I do feel we’re mak­ing head­way. Peo­ple are more tol­er­at­ing (of cy­clists). With the new laws, ev­ery lit­tle bit helps.”

The penalty for driv­ers who break the new law is a $400 fine and four de­merit points.

Road Safety Min­is­ter Michelle Roberts said seven cy­clists had been killed on WA roads this year.

“Cy­clists are among our most vul­ner­a­ble road users and these new rules are de­signed to pro­vide greater pro­tec­tion and hope­fully re­duce the num­ber of se­ri­ous in­juries and deaths,” she said.

Jan­dakot MLA Yaz Mubarakai said the new rules re­flected a com­mon sense ap­proach pro­mot­ing mu­tual re­spect.

WestCy­cle chair­man Neil Hack­ett said the rules sent a “clear mes­sage” cy­clists have a right to be on the road.

Bi­cy­cling WA chief ex­ec­u­tive De­bra Gra­ham said the law pro­vided clar­ity for rid­ers and driv­ers.

The new rules will be mon­i­tored by the Road Safety Com­mis­sion, with a re­port pro­vided to the Min­is­ter af­ter two years.

THE first per­son caught and fined un­der the State Gov­ern­ment’s new leg­is­la­tion, en­forc­ing a safe dis­tance be­tween cars and cy­clists, will de­ter­mine how the pub­lic re­acts to the new rules. As of Novem­ber 30, mo­torists will have to keep at least 1m from cy­clists if they are driv­ing less than 60km/h and 1.5m if they’re driv­ing faster, or risk a $400 fine and loss of four de­merit points. There’s no doubt the con­cept of this new rule is flouted all over the WA and if en­forced, we can ex­pect some­one to be fined first thing Fri­day morn­ing on De­cem­ber 1. It will prove that the new rule is not just a piece of pa­per­work but an ac­tive law that can’t be ig­nored. So while they’re there, po­lice need to en­force current rules pro­tect­ing pedes­tri­ans and mo­torists from cy­clists flout­ing the rules. Ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment of Trans­port… ‘When us­ing a pub­lic road all bi­cy­cle rid­ers must obey the same rules as other ve­hi­cles. The most com­mon rules in­clude those ap­ply­ing to traf­fic lights, stop signs, care­less and reck­less rid­ing, rid­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol and keep­ing left’. That means cy­clists need to stop at pedes­trian cross­ings, give way to the right at round­abouts and come to a com­plete stop at stop signs. These rules pro­tect cy­clists, mo­torists and pedes­tri­ans and most im­por­tantly save lives. They cur­rently, and never will, ap­pease the ten­sion be­tween the dif­fer­ent road users.

– Denise S. Cahill

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