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Cycle group seeks ruling on minimum passing distance
Date November 30, 2013
Reporter at The Canberra Times
The territory's peak cyclist group has called on the ACT government to look at mandatory minimum on-road passing distances, as the Queensland government announced on Friday it would trial a one-metre rule next year.
Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury has asked his directorate to investigate the proposal, one that Pedal Power ACT communications manager Matt Larkin has called the ideal solution to improving cyclist safety.
''That is the ideal solution and that's what Queensland has gone for,'' Mr Larkin said. ''We're not here to write road laws [on the exact distance]; that's not what Pedal Power is here for, but we want safer outcomes for cyclists on-road.
''Not everyone wants to meander their way through the suburbs - people want to get on their way through a fairly direct route.''
The Queensland government's move to introduce the one-metre overtaking distance in 60km/h or slower zones, and a 1.5-metre distance in quicker areas, followed the release on Friday of a parliamentary report that also recommended easing bike helmet restrictions in slower speed limit zones.
A spokesman for Mr Rattenbury said the passing distance proposal was something the ACT's Legislative Assembly inquiry into vulnerable road users would look at.
''Mr Rattenbury has asked TAMS to do an initial investigation into what that mandatory space proposal would mean if it was implemented,'' he said.
Neither the ACT government nor the NRMA directly addressed the passing distance rule in their submission to the ACT inquiry, but NRMA motoring services president Wendy Machin said the ACT government should not encourage road-sharing between cyclists and vehicles in high-speed areas.
''Preference should be given to encouraging alternative routes which avoid high-volume traffic and high-speed roads,'' Ms Machin said. ''We are concerned about the practice of reducing traffic lane widths to accommodate cycle paths, when this occurs without proper consideration for whether motor vehicles will be able to fit in the lanes.''
The Queensland report recommends removing the need for helmets for cyclists aged 16 and older on roads with a 60km/h or slower speed limit, and also permitting a rolling stop, which would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as give-way signs where it was safe to do so.
A similar helmet proposal was not mentioned in the ACT government or Pedal Power ACT submission, and the NRMA recommends improved education and enforcement to improve ACT cyclists' helmet usage rates.
Mr Larkin said higher rates of female cyclists on high-speed roads would be a sign of better road-safety confidence. The view is supported by Mr Rattenbury, who said in his submission the lack of confidence on roads was a likely reason only 13 per cent of women in the ACT aged 18 to 39 rode each week, when more than half of men of the same age did.
An estimated 5600 people in the ACT used a bicycle as their main form of transport on a usual trip to full-time work or study in March 2012, which equated to 2.8 per cent of all commuters.
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-new ... z2m5iB5qN9
Man, there would have to be massive education programs in place for the general public. Otherwise we would be having the finger pointed at us of breaking road rules all the time. Also, Stop sign laws for cyclists differing from cars? Recipe for disaster.
@MrGolf, we already get the finger pointed at us anyway! The Action bus driver who deliberately ran me off the road in Forrest was full of bluster about 'you lot break[ing] the rules all the time' as justification (though he did eventually concede that in our situation, he was the only one who broke the law ).
IMO rules can change and should where there's good reason; e.g. the 'turn left on red after stopping' intersections around the place don't cause chaos or (too much) aggravation (another good rule that should become universal IMO). Imagine how well a share bike scheme would do in Civic/New Acton/Parl triangle if the mandatory helmet law was relaxed... it would blow Melburn and Brissie out of the water!
Re: stop signs - let's face it - a rolling stop is at least as good as what most road users currently do at stop signs in the ACT; really it's just those who sail through without looking or giving way that are a worry (cars and cyclists). Acknowledging the fact that road rules were designed with hazardous 2 tonne+ pieces of machinery in mind as opposed to devices that allow people to walk faster is always good IMO. It emphasises that we are vulnerable and that it's up to drivers to adapt to sharing roads with us - not that we're on 'their patch' and have to accept the risks as inherent.
Anyhow, good to see Mayor Rattenbury making hay while the sun shines. Whatever side of the political spectrum you're from, he's a very decent person who's obviously working very hard.
There are four phases of bicycle commuting; first there's fear, then rage, then self-righteousness and finally, fun.
Action busses are my only real concern here.
On quite a number if occasions I'll be riding up adelaide ave in the bike line and have had a bus come right over so the left wheels are riding the white line and shave me.
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M@, agree 100%. Just concerned about giving motorists more fodder unintentionally, albeit misplaced.
Skull, do you have a camera? This skimming thing is becoming all too common with ACTION. I was literally within centimetres of going under the wheels on Northbourne a couple of months back and even though 2 passengers reported it (2 attempts, second closer than 1st), the cops did nothing. Since then, I have heard several other reports of similar behaviour. They are playing the "my wheels didn't cross the line" card to get out of prosecution. If you have a camera, try to shoot how many cars there are to the right of the bus once passed and how far away from the outer lane dividing line they are. Its only a matter of time til someone gets killed by these cowboys. We have families too.
I find Northbourne Ave quite bad with buses too. I won't ride on there after 7am or after 4.30pm. The few times I have I've nearly been clipped in the back of the head with the mirror. They won't move over an inch even though the next lane is clear.
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