It is most unclear to me why some cycling organisations oppose the bringing into law of a minimum passing distance to be established for drivers of vehicles when they pass cyclists on the road.
This is a response from BWA on the matter:
"The Board is fully supportive of developing safer riding conditions for all riders – regardless of age, ability or rider type (ie Road, recreational, children, commuter etc) and following careful review has come to the position that the introduction of fixed-distance laws would not create safer rider environments or necessarily address the issue of distracted drivers or poor driver behaviour. The introduction for mandatory distance passing laws is not currently supported by many of the major state cycling organisations including Bicycle Queensland and Bicycle Network.
The Board’s position was included in a recent members e-news and is available on our website http://www.bwa.org.au/bikes-and-riding/735/
Of course, we will continue to liaise with the other national cycling bodies, AGF and State government authorities on this matter."
Meanwhile Westcycle is supportive. Their comment follows:
"Yes WestCycle is supportive of the new legislation being proposed by the Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF) and the Greens requiring a minimum passing distance."
Just makes sense to me: we have to start somewhere in order to get Australian vehicle drivers to allow adequate space for cyclists on our roads.
Let me get my head around this - Bicycle WA opposes a safe passing distance because of concerns around enforcement.
Guess what - I am not concerned about drivers that overtake me with 800 mm to spare - I am concerned about drivers that just about skim my elbow ... and even the most measurement-challenged driver will know the difference between passing at arms length, or the span of a hand. What is the simplified rule? If the cyclist can touch your car, you are too close. (And it is my understanding that this is the way the three-foot passing distance is applied by plain-clothes policemen on bikes in some American jurisdictions.)
And the comment that a safe passing distance for the most vulnerable of road users is opposed by other state cycling organisations (Bicycle Victoria reborn as Bicycle Network, and Bicycle Queensland, and Bicycle WA ) - are they not all using the same membership systems and the same insurance deal .... perhaps they are pretty much one organisation?. ... based on responses to the QLD inqury, most of the rest of Australian cyclists and cycling organisations seem to support the move towards a one-metre MINIMUM passing distance, more at higher speeds. Perhaps the members of this conglomerate of opposing cycling organisations should reflect if the insurance cover is sufficent reason to support this anti-cycling point of view. I notice that my household insurance with SGIO covers me quite well for mishaps when I am cycling....
Good to see that the West Australian peak organisation for cycling, WestCycle, supports the move towards a safe passing distance. I wonder how they internally deal with contrary Bicycle WA, who, I think, is a member of this peak body.
I ride about 7500 km a year, perhaps one third to half of it on roads, and I would love to have stronger legal protection, backed up by driver education, slower speeds on side roads, and separate bike paths where the volume of cyclists, or the speed and volume of cars justifies it.
I think this should not be a race to the lowest common denominator - all these cycling organisations need to find common ground, or they need to have their heads bashed together like naughty kids in the school yard. Common ground on a legal one meter passing distance would be a good way to demonstrate their relevance.
I think this thread started with the question what should be advocated for. My answer is pretty much in the previous paragraphs:
- infrastructure that separates cyclist from cars where possible, particularely when car volumes or speeds are a problem
- lower car speeds in the suburbs, to enable me to reach the PSP's safely
- laws that protect cyclist, such as the "strict liability" laws in Holland, France and other European countries, that make the driver of the heavier vehicle for the damage caused by smaller vehicles - trucks vs cars, cars vs bicycles, bicycles vs pedestrians. And also laws that make cars pass at a reasonable distance.