The New WA SLOMO Laws and Cycling

Scott_C
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The New WA SLOMO Laws and Cycling

Postby Scott_C » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:01 pm

Over the holidays you may have seen mention of a 31st December media release from the Minister for Police regarding a change to WA's Road Rules to protect incident response workers by creating a Slow Down, Move Over (SLOMO) Law to come into force in March.

At the time of the publishing of the release the wording of the new laws were not available online until the State Law Publisher updated the Road Traffic Code on the 5th of January to include the new road rule not yet in force as follows:

Division 6A — Stationary incident response vehicles
137A. Approaching and passing stationary incident response vehicles
(1) In this regulation —
hazard warning light has the same meaning as in regulation 188;
incident response vehicle means any of the following vehicles if the vehicle is displaying a flashing light other than a turn indicator light or hazard warning light —
(a) an emergency vehicle;
(b) a motor break-down service vehicle;
(c) a tow truck;
(d) a vehicle that is being used to provide an incident response service on behalf of the Commissioner of Main Roads.

(2) A driver approaching a stationary incident response vehicle must drive at a speed at which the driver can, if necessary, stop safely before passing the incident response vehicle.
Points: 3 Modified penalty: 6 PU

(3) A driver approaching a stationary incident response vehicle that is in the same lane of a multi-lane carriageway as the driver must move to another lane for vehicular traffic travelling in the same direction as the driver, if it is safe to do so.
Points: 3 Modified penalty: 6 PU

(4) A driver must not pass a stationary incident response vehicle at a speed exceeding 40 km/h.
Points: 3 Modified penalty: 6 PU

(5) Subregulations (2) and (4) do not apply if the driver —
(a) is on a two-way carriageway; and
(b) the incident response vehicle is on the side of the carriageway used by vehicular traffic travelling in the opposite direction to the driver.


It should be noted that the unqualified use of the term 'driver' throughout the law means that, under the definitions in the WA Road Traffic Code, it applies to bicycle riders as well as motor vehicle drivers and riders.

In summary the intent of the law appears to be that vehicles approaching a stationary incident response vehicle on their side of a carriageway: prepare to stop, fully change lane if the incident response vehicle is partially in their lane and it is safe to do so, and pass the incident response vehicle at no more than 40kph.

From the wording of part (3) it is unclear to me what is meant to happen if it is not safe to change lanes to go around the stopped incident vehicle, are you required to come to a stop (as part 2 of the law says you must be prepared to do) until it is safe to change lanes or do you continue past it in their lane at no more than 40kph if you can do so safely. This detail is particularly important for cyclists as it is generally considered unsafe for a cyclist to travel in the right hand lane on multi-lane road with a high speed limit and, combined with the 1.5m passing width required by the safe passing legislation would almost certainly result in a cyclist in the right hand lane blocking all subsequent vehicles from passing.

In general I wonder why the law (and particularly part 3) has been made applicable to cyclists in the first place as I very much doubt any roadside workers have been seriously injured in collisions with cyclists.

The other thing I find amusing about the law is that it seems to classify the police bike squad as incident response vehicles if they run their front or rear lights in a flashing mode which could end up with some interesting interactions if the bike squad member(s) are stopped in traffic requiring them to both be given a full lane and for the passing vehicle to do no more than 40kph.

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Cycleops70
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Re: The New WA SLOMO Laws and Cycling

Postby Cycleops70 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:40 pm

I'm a little confused about this law.
Firstly, what is an "incident".

Secondly, on a 4 lane freeway, it would appear that all lanes must slow to 40kph.
Even the far right lane.
You only have an exemption if you are travelling in the opposite direction.

Also they are quite specific about the type of vehicle.
Surely someone with hazards flashing, trying to change a tyre, deserves the same protection?

Scott_C
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Location: Perth, WA

Re: The New WA SLOMO Laws and Cycling

Postby Scott_C » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:48 pm

A quick reminder that this law comes into force today.

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Thoglette
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Re: The New WA SLOMO Laws and Cycling

Postby Thoglette » Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:04 pm

Scott_C wrote:From the wording of part (3) it is unclear to me what is meant to happen if it is not safe to change lanes to go around the stopped incident vehicle, are you required to come to a stop (as part 2 of the law says you must be prepared to do) until it is safe to change lanes or do you continue past it in their lane at no more than 40kph if you can do so safely.

Strictly speaking, you stop. Or get off your bike, at which point you are no longer a driver but a pedestrian.

Practically, suck it and see. Case by case.

Scott_C wrote:This detail is particularly important for cyclists as it is generally considered unsafe for a cyclist to travel in the right hand lane on multi-lane road with a high speed limit and, combined with the 1.5m passing width required by the safe passing legislation would almost certainly result in a cyclist in the right hand lane blocking all subsequent vehicles from passing.

Once the lights are on, it's no longer a road with a high speed limit.

Scott_C wrote:The other thing I find amusing about the law is that it seems to classify the police bike squad as incident response vehicles if they run their front or rear lights in a flashing mode which could end up with some interesting interactions if the bike squad member(s) are stopped in traffic requiring them to both be given a full lane and for the passing vehicle to do no more than 40kph.


Yup.

I need to download the new regs but I understood there was a provision that required movement to the other lane when overtaking on multilane roads (v.s. single where one only needs to pass safely). I thought it was somewhere around Reg 126 re: multilane roads.
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