A me­tre mat­ters pass­ing cy­clists

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

A new Trans­port Ac­ci­dent Com­mis­sion cam­paign is calling on Vic­to­rian driv­ers to en­sure the safety of cy­clists on the road by slow­ing down and al­low­ing enough space when pass­ing.

TAC Road Safety lead di­rec­tor Sa­man­tha Cock­field un­veiled the new pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign, high­light­ing the min­i­mum safety zone driv­ers should al­low when pass­ing a bike rider.

The cam­paign urges driv­ers to ‘give the space to ride safe’, rec­om­mend­ing at least a oneme­tre safety zone when pass­ing cy­clists in speed zones up to 60km/h, and at least 1.5 me­tres at higher speeds.

Cen­tral to the cam­paign is a new tele­vi­sion advertisement that de­picts three sce­nar­ios where cy­clists are be­ing passed by ve­hi­cles in dif­fer­ent road en­vi­ron­ments.

The advertisement pro­vides vis­ual cues to show a safe pass­ing dis­tance, with each rider spread­ing their arms be­tween the end of their bike’s han­dle­bars and the pass­ing ve­hi­cle’s side mir­ror.

“This pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign is de­signed to help driv­ers of cars and heavy ve­hi­cles to un­der­stand the min­i­mum space to leave when pass­ing a per­son rid­ing a push bike,” Ms Cock­field said.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of driv­ers do will­ingly give space when they pass a cy­clist, but peo­ple can be un­sure of the guide­lines on just how much dis­tance they should leave be­tween their ve­hi­cle and a rider.”

“It is also im­por­tant that mo­torists slow down when pass­ing some­one on a bike, while it’s equally im­por­tant that rid­ers en­sure they are highly vis­i­ble, pre­dictable and wear­ing good pro­tec­tive gear.”

Cy­clists are 34 times more likely to be se­ri­ously in­jured than ve­hi­cle oc­cu­pants, and 4.5 times more likely to be killed in a crash, ac­cord­ing to TAC fig­ures.

Last year, eight cy­clists died in crashes on Vic­to­rian roads while 421 rid­ers were hos­pi­talised with in­juries.

“Our bod­ies are sim­ply not de­signed to sur­vive the im­pact speeds of com­mon crash sce­nar­ios and this is even truer for rid­ers, who are far more vul­ner­a­ble as they don’t have the ben­e­fit of a car cabin, or safety fea­tures like airbags,” Ms Cock­field said.

“No one de­serves to die or be se­ri­ously in­jured on our roads and we all have a role to play in cre­at­ing a road en­vi­ron­ment where all road users can travel safely ev­ery day.

“Whether this means cy­clists think­ing about the route they take or mo­torists be­ing more con­scious of cy­clists, it’s up to ev­ery­one to look out for each other.”

The ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign was de­vel­oped with in­put from cy­cling and road user groups from across Vic­to­ria in­clud­ing VicRoads, Amy Gil­lett Foun­da­tion, Bi­cy­cle Net­work, Cy­cling Vic­to­ria and RACV.

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