Bike pass­ing law change ‘over­due’ Bryce Luff

Fremantle Gazette - - #SNAPPERTH -

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.

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