BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

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BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby InTheWoods » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:59 pm

Ok so BQ publicly doesn't support a legislated minimum passing distance. I contacted them about this and got one response, but haven't heard back from my follow up. I gave them an example of a recent close shave I had, and asked:

... how do you suggest police take action against this driver? As there was no collision, rule 144 was not broken. Is it an actual court prosecution under the TORUM act, s83, "Careless driving of motor vehicles"? If so I'd be ok with that if it was possible, but what is required for a successful prosecution, and what is the burden of proof? From what I've been told (not necessarily a reliable source though) police have a very hard time getting successful convictions for careless or dangerous driving charges. It shouldn't be that way. So what needs to change?


I won't quote the response verbatim, but broader parts of it I did agree with (taking a broader view than just that of close shaves). However their specific response to the above is that they favour enforcement of the existing "safe passing" requirements.

I have pointed out that the existing requirement in rule 144 only requires you to not have a collision, and if you do not collide then you have met the requirements of the rule, even if 1mm of clearance is given. This means the driver cannot be given a ticket, which leaves the option of a dangerous or careless driving charge, which are much more effort and much less likely to be successful (so the police don't). I disagree that it is "difficult" to prove a passing distance when you have video. Sure you won't be pinpoint accurate but you can certainly see that a pass of about 10cm clearance wasn't 1 meter.

I wonder if BQ has misunderstood rule 144? They have read the title of the rule but not the actual content? The title means nothing. Its like taking rule 77 "Giving way to buses" and deciding this means you always have to give way to buses, without reading the actual components of the rule. Or perhaps they mean rule 140(2). My understanding is that in court you could defend yourself against rule 140 by simply stating that you are a good driver, and that you calculated the pass was safe, and that as you did not hit the cyclist you were correct. Even though you missed by 1mm.

In another thread here in the last couple of days somebody said that on the motoring section of the OCAU forum, a user has been explaining that there is no minimum clearance required when passing a cyclist. So now there's a bunch of drivers who know that... we are even more stuffed.

What existing rules can be used? If police won't/can't go for careless driving, what else is there?
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by BNA » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:47 am

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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:47 am

InTheWoods wrote:What existing rules can be used? If police won't/can't go for careless driving, what else is there?


Nothing. Our police have shown that even when there is a collision they do not wish to press charges on unsafe overtaking. Our courts have shown that even when somebody is killed then conviction of dangerous driving does not occur.

The system is broken. Protection of vulnerable road users is non existent.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby biker jk » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:22 am

The solution is joining the Australian Cyclists Party, winning political representation and changing the laws. I don't see any alternative.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:08 am

I should add that they support making vehicles change lanes to overtake (which is something I support). But that is currently not required, which means a leglislation change, and they didn't seem to be pushing for that change at any time previously.

(And it doesn't do anything for non-multi-lane roads).
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby Xplora » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:09 am

Enforcement of existing laws is another term for "business as usual" and that business isn't making any money. At All. It is no different to BQ supporting more double line overtaking infringements. The current regime isn't working. The rules must change.

You cannot compel police to enforce discretion laws - where they have to make a judgment call about the severity of the infringement and likelihood of success at court. Passing distances are simpler and easier to enforce, and take a lot of the legwork away from the police who simply have to put it to the court that the vehicle driver was only a foot away instead of a metre.

BQ doesn't get that there are layers to the whole saga - overtaking with care, overtaking with sufficient space, driving with vulnerable road users, mismatch of physics in the drafting, staying left as practicable. Ignorance of those layers creates a serious issue - cyclists must have respect to ride as they choose; it cannot be decided for them by a bully behind a wheel. Current laws don't create a sufficient buffer of physics, psychology or penalty.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby RonK » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:29 am

InTheWoods wrote:Ok so BQ publicly doesn't support a legislated minimum passing distance.

BQ wants separated bicycle infractructure. It's my view that they oppose a minimum legal passing distance because if it was enacted and properly enforced, their argument for separate infrastucure may be weakened.

Separated infrastructure may be feasible on major city commuting routes, but surely it's impossible to have it everywhere, so a significant proportion of cyclists will always have to use the roads. BQ begrudgingly admit this on the web site, but it seems the policy is to favour city commuters over all other cyclists.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:30 am

Xplora wrote:You cannot compel police to enforce discretion laws - where they have to make a judgment call about the severity of the infringement and likelihood of success at court. Passing distances are simpler and easier to enforce, and take a lot of the legwork away from the police who simply have to put it to the court that the vehicle driver was only a foot away instead of a metre.


Yep.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby Xplora » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:35 pm

RonK wrote:BQ wants separated bicycle infractructure.
it's impossible to have it everywhere

Yikes... oppose a superior policy change to get an unlikely and inferior one?

I reckon infrastructure is awesome, and the M7 cycleway is evidence that it can be really good - the M7 has built communities of riders that didn't exist. BUT the M7 cycleway exposes unwitting pedestrians to extreme danger through the turns, and ultimately creates a new problem that pedestrians can't win - riders vs walkers. Infrastructure in its current mode is expensive, divisive and politically hard. Adjustments to our current rules to provide more meat on the police dog's bone are cheap, quick and effective. Similar to MHL repeal - there is no reason why such a law change would be hard for the community. It's simply legislating common courtesy and decency.

If they want a revolutionary law change, remove the cyclist's obligation to keep left unless impracticable. OWN THE ROAD, BABY :!: :shock: :!: A lot of these issues become moot when drivers are forced to treat a bike identically to a car. :idea: The minimum passing distance is an olive branch to allow the cars to keep driving at the speed limit on single lane roads.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby cowled » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:42 pm

RonK wrote:BQ wants separated bicycle infractructure. It's my view that they oppose a minimum legal passing distance because if it was enacted and properly enforced, their argument for separate infrastucure may be weakened.


RonK, I don't agree. I think that everybody agrees that separated bicycle infrastructure is the Gold Standard and I don't think that a minimum safe passing law will have any effect on the need to build infra. Strict liability laws, on the other hand, might have some effect, however, it is worth noting that the countries with strict liability laws actually do have good bike infra.

In any case, I don't see a minimum safe passing rule having much impact on enforcement. Police officers will continue to treat cyclists as the lower class of road user because that is how most Australians see us. I do hope that a minimum passing rule will provide the Police with a very clear-cut infringement of the law that can be brought against drivers who hit cyclists while overtaking. I do hope that any such law would have, say, three different levels of offence that are directly linked to the severity of the injuries / property damage suffered by the victim.

Perhaps the Police force needs to be pushed by the legal system into picking up their act with respect to charging dangerous drivers with appropriate offences. That is, if we cannot wait for social change, we need to take the Police to task in the courts. If this encourages them to improve their enforcement out on the roads, the public will start to take notice.

Of course, we also need to think about using the carrot approach if we want to have lasting social change. We need to find some way of getting the message out there that cyclists are just people who happen to ride a bike from time to time. We are people with families, jobs etc.. It is probably a good idea to acknowledge safe driving with a friendly wave of thanks. This simple act conveys a huge message very easily and just might encourage drivers to be kinder to the next cyclist they encounter.

Sorry if this moved a little off topic.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:30 pm

InTheWoods wrote:I should add that they support making vehicles change lanes to overtake (which is something I support). But that is currently not required

That is all a matter of interpretation. I would suggest that a more stringent interpretation of Rule 146 would require this "full lane-change overtake"

Victorian Road Rules wrote:146 Driving within a single marked lane or line of traffic
(1) A driver on a multi-lane road must drive so the driver's vehicle is completely in a marked lane,
unless the driver is—
(a) entering a part of the road of one kind from a part of the road of another kind (for example, moving to or from a service road or a shoulder of the road); or
(b) entering or leaving the road; or
(c) moving from one marked lane to another marked lane; or
(d) avoiding an obstruction; or
(e) obeying a traffic control device applying to the marked lane; or
(f) permitted to drive in more than one marked lane under another provision of these Rules.



InTheWoods wrote:(And it doesn't do anything for non-multi-lane roads).

A matter of stricter interpretation as well, with perhaps a minor regulatory change to apply it to all roads. Drivers on two-lane roads should still be required to change lanes fully rather than 'lane-splitting' when overtaking another vehicle. If you were ovetaking a bus or another car you would change lanes fully (when clear of oncoming traffic). Why is it any different with a cyclist??
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby Xplora » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:40 pm

Simple Pad - drivers do not understand the implications of cyclists claiming the lane in multi lane situations, because those roads tend to be too busy for the majority of riders to use regularly without a wide shoulder, and they don't understand that the multilane is completely different to the single lane. Ultimately, ignorance of the law by both cyclists and drivers brings forth a complete misunderstanding of how a cyclist needs to use the road, and how the driver needs to use the road.

Unfortunately, any active campaign to make changes or bring about awareness is pointless, because cyclists have so much more to lose via driver stupidity. Ultimately the law is irrelevent if your life is endangered. There are so many abortions of justice that prove that the wording and content of the law is toothless when discrimination is shown in enforcement of it.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:45 pm

il padrone wrote:
InTheWoods wrote:I should add that they support making vehicles change lanes to overtake (which is something I support). But that is currently not required

That is all a matter of interpretation. I would suggest that a more stringent interpretation of Rule 146 would require this "full lane-change overtake"

Victorian Road Rules wrote:146 Driving within a single marked lane or line of traffic
(1) A driver on a multi-lane road must drive so the driver's vehicle is completely in a marked lane,
unless the driver is—
(a) entering a part of the road of one kind from a part of the road of another kind (for example, moving to or from a service road or a shoulder of the road); or
(b) entering or leaving the road; or
(c) moving from one marked lane to another marked lane; or
(d) avoiding an obstruction; or
(e) obeying a traffic control device applying to the marked lane; or
(f) permitted to drive in more than one marked lane under another provision of these Rules.




So all the driver has to do is not lane split, stay in the same lane, and give even less passing clearance :) I do see where you are coming from, and agree its potentially a rule that could be better enforced where you get a close shave *and* a lane split, but its not an "anti-shaving" rule by itself.

A new rule to ban vehicles that are not a bicycle or motorbike from sharing the same lane on a multi-lane road would be more like it. It would have a side affect of not allowing a cyclist to pass a slow car in traffic in the same lane though, without moving to the shoulder or a different lane.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby RonK » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:14 pm

cowled wrote:
RonK wrote:BQ wants separated bicycle infractructure. It's my view that they oppose a minimum legal passing distance because if it was enacted and properly enforced, their argument for separate infrastucure may be weakened.


RonK, I don't agree. I think that everybody agrees that separated bicycle infrastructure is the Gold Standard and I don't think that a minimum safe passing law will have any effect on the need to build infra.

Then can you offer a plausible alternative explanation as to why BQ is opposed to a minimum legal passing distance? What is their agenda? I don't find the reasons they have posted on the BQ web site to be in any way convincing.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby cowled » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:36 pm

RonK wrote:
cowled wrote:
RonK wrote:BQ wants separated bicycle infractructure. It's my view that they oppose a minimum legal passing distance because if it was enacted and properly enforced, their argument for separate infrastucure may be weakened.


RonK, I don't agree. I think that everybody agrees that separated bicycle infrastructure is the Gold Standard and I don't think that a minimum safe passing law will have any effect on the need to build infra.

Then can you offer a plausible alternative explanation as to why BQ is opposed to a minimum legal passing distance? What is their agenda? I don't find the reasons they have posted on the BQ web site to be in any way convincing.


Unfortunately I don't have an alternative explanation. I will ask Ben Wilson the next time I see him. I'm guessing that he will probably just reiterate the old line of 'BQ doesn't support changes to laws unless there is proof that they are effective at actually saving lives'.

I don't agree with BQs position on this, but at least they are consistent and logical. Personally I think a safe passing distance law would be effective as an education tool and ought to be a great enforcement tool.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby Xplora » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:58 pm

That's really the rub of it, isn't it? You can't just tell people to be good and play nicely when it comes to outgroups. It doesn't work. NRS would have to outpay NRL/AFL/cricket 2:1 to make cycling a majority activity. The Australian driver needs to be told "5 foot is so important that we'll ping you if you can't show respect for the person you're overtaking", and you don't get that change without a legal change here - you only need a couple close shaves that were not "abusive" to realise that people just don't get it at all, and cops don't get it either.

If they don't want to put in the passing rule, I want the Keep Left rule thrown out so I can legitimately own the lane and force a proper pass; at this point in time a driver can rightfully get upset about control of a lane because of confusion about the rules. I think we can remove some of that confusion :lol:
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:36 pm



2:00 onwards shows how to do it on two-lane roads, what I tend to try to do. A mirror is essential to do it.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:44 pm

Xplora wrote:Unfortunately, any active campaign to make changes or bring about awareness is pointless, because cyclists have so much more to lose via driver stupidity. Ultimately the law is irrelevent if your life is endangered. There are so many abortions of justice that prove that the wording and content of the law is toothless when discrimination is shown in enforcement of it.

Seems to be a bit too much 'fear factor' in the mix there. Maybe Brisbane is different, a tad crazier, but when I am cycling on a whole range of raods I don't find thsat much grief given when I hold the line and show I am claiming lane-space. The problems occur with the gutter-cringe or when I am a little less attentive about my position.

Traffic cutting you up too close? Move a bit wider and wake 'em up. Stick the arm out right-turn style and move out a bit. The worst you will get is a close shave with 2m more room on the left. I've said it before also - make yourself look wider. Panniers are good for this, riding two-abreast does the same thing if you ride with a friend.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:53 pm

InTheWoods wrote:A new rule to ban vehicles that are not a bicycle or motorbike from sharing the same lane on a multi-lane road would be more like it. It would have a side affect of not allowing a cyclist to pass a slow car in traffic in the same lane though, without moving to the shoulder or a different lane.

Rule 140 and 144 set the scene here. Safe overtaking is the key. Anyone who argues that a 2cm margin is 'safe' because a collision did not result has rocks for brains. The intent of the law is very clear and the relative speeds of vehicles and the nature of their movement and physical features are a key aspect of the level of safety.

As for a bicycle not overtaking a car in the same lane because this is unsafe - again, a laughable proposition.

A bit disturbing when cyclists make a scenario where they set themselves up as the monkey :?:
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:54 pm

Being assertive and claiming the lane in Brisbane avoids careless close passes, but you are guaranteed to get punishment passes that are very fast and close to teach you a lesson. It doesn't matter if you are in the left wheel line, right wheel line, or centre of the lane.

Not sure what the second half of your video really shows. The road seems to be reasonably wide and there is a shoulder - you're probably not going to get much trouble along there anyway. Try doing that with no shoulder and the minimum legal lane width.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:58 pm

il padrone wrote:
InTheWoods wrote:A new rule to ban vehicles that are not a bicycle or motorbike from sharing the same lane on a multi-lane road would be more like it. It would have a side affect of not allowing a cyclist to pass a slow car in traffic in the same lane though, without moving to the shoulder or a different lane.

Rule 140 and 144 set the scene here. Safe overtaking is the key. Anyone who argues that a 2cm margin is 'safe' because a collision did not result has rocks for brains. The intent of the law is very clear and the relative speeds of vehicles and the nature of their movement and physical features are a key aspect of the level of safety.


The rule is not the title of the rule. While the title of 144 says safe, the actual rule contents only say don't collide, and that is enough to defend yourself in court - you can't break the "title" of a rule, see my example of rule 77.

As for a bicycle not overtaking a car in the same lane because this is unsafe - again, a laughable proposition.

A bit disturbing when cyclists make a scenario where they set themselves up as the monkey :?:


Who said it was unsafe? I just said that if you have add a rule that a bicycle and car cannot share the same lane on a multi-lane road, that applies both ways. It would be odd to have "except if the cyclist undertakes the car in which case its ok".
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:03 pm

Another great video that illustrates the safety values of lane control, from Orlando, Florida.


The comparison between right-lane riding (US = our left) and lane control is pretty clear. Keri Caffrey and Commute Orlando have done a great job at illustrating many great safe cycling strategies to keeep yourself moving happily and using the psychology of drivers to minimise conflicts and hazards.


Lane control on the same road with higher traffic volume
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:10 pm

InTheWoods wrote:The rule is not the title of the rule. While the title of 144 says safe, the actual rule contents only say don't collide, and that is enough to defend yourself in court - you can't break the "title" of a rule, see my example of rule 77.....


.....Who said it was unsafe? I just said that if you have add a rule that a bicycle and car cannot share the same lane on a multi-lane road, that applies both ways. It would be odd to have "except if the cyclist undertakes the car in which case its ok".

I do not intend to argue endlessly over this. All I'll say is that it all comes down to intent. Overtaking rules are all about safety of road vehicles - that is the key intent. Then it's up to police to take a safety view, rather than a 'motorist MGIF' viewpoint.

We need to lobby and campaign hard on this line. It was the most outstanding difference in vehicle-user behaviour that I expereinced in Italy, even on narrow busy roads, and on multi-lane roads also - the driver approach was always focused on safety of others.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:13 pm

InTheWoods wrote:Not sure what the second half of your video really shows. The road seems to be reasonably wide and there is a shoulder - you're probably not going to get much trouble along there anyway. Try doing that with no shoulder and the minimum legal lane width.

Not my video.

The second half shows riding along a two lane road and holding the lane until approaching traffic slow to a reasonable speed for safe overtaking. The rider then moves right onto the shoulder, out of manners. No shoulder? Tough, then drivers just need to wait until the road is clear ahead to change lanes and pass. Sorta like they'd do for a slow-moving tractor, truck or car.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:45 pm

il padrone wrote:
InTheWoods wrote:.....Who said it was unsafe? I just said that if you have add a rule that a bicycle and car cannot share the same lane on a multi-lane road, that applies both ways. It would be odd to have "except if the cyclist undertakes the car in which case its ok".

I do not intend to argue endlessly over this. All I'll say is that it all comes down to intent. Overtaking rules are all about safety of road vehicles - that is the key intent. Then it's up to police to take a safety view, rather than a 'motorist MGIF' viewpoint.


I don't think we are arguing - I think we are both saying claiming the lane is good. My response was because you seemed to be saying that I said a bicycle passing a car in the same lane was unsafe, which I did not.

We need to lobby and campaign hard on this line. It was the most outstanding difference in vehicle-user behaviour that I expereinced in Italy, even on narrow busy roads, and on multi-lane roads also - the driver approach was always focused on safety of others.


I agree we have a behaviour/attitude problem. There's no silver bullet. Making it easier for the police to ticket somebody for a close shave will at least reduce shaves because a) they'll start actually getting punished for it and b) of the exposure and education a change in the rules creates.

At the moment we have bad attitudes PLUS apparently no legal protection from close shaves.

The second half shows riding along a two lane road and holding the lane until approaching traffic slow to a reasonable speed for safe overtaking. The rider then moves right onto the shoulder, out of manners. No shoulder? Tough, then drivers just need to wait until the road is clear ahead to change lanes and pass. Sorta like they'd do for a slow-moving tractor, truck or car.


I totally agree it helps and drivers should wait etc etc. It works with most. But there's quite a few in Brisbane that will punish you for it.
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Re: BQ's non-support for minimum safe passing distance

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:59 pm

Funny thing about BQ not supporting a minimum safe passing distance rule. Their tshirts always said differently. Maybe (shock horror) they were paid to push Wayne Goss' agenda at the time.
BQ don't have the ability to think for themselves. Money does strange things to a bunch of knee high socks and sandles wearing bearded penny farthing enthusiasts. It robs them of their self appointed sense of moral obligation to to Qld's cycling community, and yet conveniently allows them to push (insert government of the day here)'s political agenda quite happily.
Tbh BQ haven't even looked at the effects of RR144, the resulting casualty list or the alternatives. Their CEO's abysmal performances at every appearance at the Qld Cycling Issues Inquiry are plainly evident. My dog has a better handle on the subject and he pees in his own water bowl.
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