Bike passing law change ‘overdue’ Bryce Luff
NEW safe passing distance rules will do little to improve the relationship between motorists and cyclists, a local cycling club president says.
From November 30, drivers overtaking a cyclist must keep a one-metre 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,” he said.
“I think they’re adequate but it doesn’t mean the situation will necessarily change.”
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) and a lot better to get along with.
“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 between all road users.
There will be a public awareness campaign to ensure drivers and other road users are aware of the new laws. WestCycle chairman Neil Hackett said the rules sent a “clear message” that cyclists had a right to be on the road.
Bicycling WA chief executive Debra Graham said the law provided clarity for riders and drivers.
A Main Roads WA spokesman said the safety initiative did not require any alteration to existing roads.
The new rules will be monitored by the Road Safety Commission, with a report provided to the Minister after two years.