Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs...

Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs...

Postby CycleSnail » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:13 pm

I fail to understand how a legalised safe passing distance can make cycling less safe - yet the push towards it, supported by about 100 organisations and associations, is opposed by Bicycle WA. As I understand it, they (together with Bicycle Queensland and Bicycle Network) seem to argue that

fixed-distance laws would not create safer rider environments.

I know that possible problems around this have been discussed before. My concern is that this division between cyclists will make it hard to push for any safety related improvments at a legislative level. It might even impact on cycling related funding at state and federal level.

Perhaps there is agreement between people who ride bicycles that the merits outweigh the implementation challenges, and the disagreement is limited to a turf war between a few cycling organisations?

To create a safer environment for people who choose to ride a bicycle to work, train stations, school or shops we need to find common ground.

What should cyclists and their representative organsations advocate for, and what should be abandoned?
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby RonK » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:27 pm

It seems to me that the peak cycling bodies are completely out of touch with grass roots cycling.

Beats me how they can make such decisions without any consultation with members or cycling public.

These matters should be put to a referendum of members.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby Bah77 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:55 pm

Maybe they have some idea that a 1m law will make politicians think "ok job done, everything's fine" and ignore other solutions like separated bike lanes or the like?
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:50 pm

To those who think my State Org rants are only mindless waffle, you need look no further than this. Our State governments - namely our Transport Ministers - loathe the idea of a change to RR144. It will cost votes, it will cost time and resources to enforce, and our courts are already clogged with the ever increasing scum that is caked on every surface of modern society.
The first Minister that makes this change will be seen by his counterparts and his cabinet as a martyr.
Of course those same Ministers throw alot of money at their lapdogs the State Org's to fund their various fun rides and enable them to front a camera every once in a while to talk about footpaths, painted lines and helmets. Why? Simple, it's what our Transport Ministers are prepared to offer us. Get us off the roads whenever possible and blame us for being fragile. Isn't that what you also get with your State Org's membership? If they didn't offer insurance they'd be stuffed. Those members they did attract would then only be those that love paint and think that road cycling is sheer madness. Several recent wins by Melbourne cyclists have not been championed by BNV, rather BNV begrudgingly jumped onboard when they realised they couldn't risk their "reputation" by continuing to oppose the cycling community any longer.
If our State Org's want to keep those financial streams flowing, they must sprook Government policy to the letter. you may see BQLD for example take issue with Brisbane City Council over maintainence work to a shared path taki g an hour too long, but they will NEVER take umbridge with any governmental policy descision. I'll bet they will disown every member they have if it helps keep their doors open. They don't really represent you, they never have.
Remember, out motoring org's are being more supportive of cyclists ATM than our cycling org's. That should ring alarm bells, but half their members are too docile to notice or give a rats.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:08 pm

You want money spent on cycling? Ask for the money our State Org's receive for cycling.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby exadios » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:28 pm

CycleSnail wrote:I fail to understand how a legalised safe passing distance can make cycling less safe - yet the push towards it, supported by about 100 organisations and associations, is opposed by Bicycle WA. As I understand it, they (together with Bicycle Queensland and Bicycle Network) seem to argue that

fixed-distance laws would not create safer rider environments.

I know that possible problems around this have been discussed before. My concern is that this division between cyclists will make it hard to push for any safety related improvments at a legislative level. It might even impact on cycling related funding at state and federal level.

Perhaps there is agreement between people who ride bicycles that the merits outweigh the implementation challenges, and the disagreement is limited to a turf war between a few cycling organisations?

To create a safer environment for people who choose to ride a bicycle to work, train stations, school or shops we need to find common ground.

What should cyclists and their representative organsations advocate for, and what should be abandoned?


I don't know of any bicycling organizations that support the one meter legislation. Maybe because they think it is bad law.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby exadios » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:29 pm

RonK wrote:It seems to me that the peak cycling bodies are completely out of touch with grass roots cycling.

Beats me how they can make such decisions without any consultation with members or cycling public.

These matters should be put to a referendum of members.


A poll is alays a good idea.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:31 pm

Why are. Our representative bodies in Australia bucking the trend? In other countries calling for similar legislation it's the State Org's leading the charge. Why? They aren't government funded!
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:32 pm

exadios wrote:
RonK wrote:It seems to me that the peak cycling bodies are completely out of touch with grass roots cycling.

Beats me how they can make such decisions without any consultation with members or cycling public.

These matters should be put to a referendum of members.


A poll is alays a good idea.

The boards of these org's do not like being told what to do by their members. Ask anyone who ever came up against Harry Barber.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:34 pm

As for our State Org's telli g their member that a minimum safe passing distance will expose cyclists to even greater risk, where's the evidence to support such incredulous claims? Richard Pollett was a famous soccer player?
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:50 pm

Surprised? Not bloody likely.
No way these professional paper shufflers want the gravy train derailed.

Dave, hurry up and get an insurer on board. Methinks these mobs would be extinct come spring if you do.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:50 am

That's a huge commitment, but maybe offer a discount if possible, somehow, through an insurance partner, and maybe access to legal advice through one of Australia's largest firms for those who need it? I could see what I can do.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby RonK » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:07 am

The 2nd Womble wrote:That's a huge commitment, but maybe offer a discount if possible, somehow, through an insurance partner, and maybe access to legal advice through one of Australia's largest firms for those who need it? I could see what I can do.

Yes, a full time job no doubt. But perhaps you could make career of it. Those leeches over at BQ do quite nicely I think.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:45 am

RonK wrote:
The 2nd Womble wrote:That's a huge commitment, but maybe offer a discount if possible, somehow, through an insurance partner, and maybe access to legal advice through one of Australia's largest firms for those who need it? I could see what I can do.

Yes, a full time job no doubt. But perhaps you could make career of it. Those leeches over at BQ do quite nicely I think.

You want to know why I've resisted offering an alternative till now? It's precisely because of that. I can't stomach the thought of being in a position where I make a living out of something that saves lives when I can do it for pretty much nothing now. Why should cyclists have to pay for what they already deserve? I won't make a career out if taking money from a cyclists pockets and then trying to justify to the world why they still got dragged along the road and died trapped under a truck.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby Marty Moose » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:57 pm

I still don't get why they would not support it ..... Its pretty simple if you hit a cyclist or any other road user while passing them you are at fault. Whats wrong with that its just stupid not to support this. There must be more to it.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby exadios » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:50 pm

Marty Moose wrote:I still don't get why they would not support it ..... Its pretty simple if you hit a cyclist or any other road user while passing them you are at fault. Whats wrong with that its just stupid not to support this. There must be more to it.


As far as I know nobody is proposing legislation of that type.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby exadios » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:53 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Surprised? Not bloody likely.
No way these professional paper shufflers want the gravy train derailed.

Dave, hurry up and get an insurer on board. Methinks these mobs would be extinct come spring if you do.


Quite right! Just because you are paranoid it doesn't mean that they are not out to get you.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:33 pm

exadios wrote:
Marty Moose wrote:I still don't get why they would not support it ..... Its pretty simple if you hit a cyclist or any other road user while passing them you are at fault. Whats wrong with that its just stupid not to support this. There must be more to it.


As far as I know nobody is proposing legislation of that type.


Pretty sure it's already a legal requirement for the overtaking vehicle to do so safely.

If so, then damage or injury to the passee would seem to make a pretty strong case for failure to do so. Shame about the enforcement failure.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby exadios » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:21 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
exadios wrote:
Marty Moose wrote:I still don't get why they would not support it ..... Its pretty simple if you hit a cyclist or any other road user while passing them you are at fault. Whats wrong with that its just stupid not to support this. There must be more to it.


As far as I know nobody is proposing legislation of that type.


Pretty sure it's already a legal requirement for the overtaking vehicle to do so safely.

If so, then damage or injury to the passee would seem to make a pretty strong case for failure to do so. Shame about the enforcement failure.


So your saying that no legislation is required?
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby simonn » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:06 am

Mulger bill wrote:Dave, hurry up and get an insurer on board. Methinks these mobs would be extinct come spring if you do.


Cycling Australia insurance is probably cheaper than cycling orgs. I think the excess is higher ($1000 - I think), but liability and personal injury insurance is for those times when bankruptcy/losing the house/shirt off your back is a potential issue so $1000 vs $500 is neither here nor there. I think my audax membership was ~$60 vs > $100 for BNSW membership. I don't get a discount on overpriced rides though. You do not need to race or even do any club rides to get it.

Also, most home contents insurance includes liability insurance anyway. NRMA home insurance even uses cycling as an example of what liability insurance is for.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby totallybalanced » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:01 pm

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.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby exadios » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:19 pm

totallybalanced wrote: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.


I think the problem of one meter laws are that we would not be starting "somewhere" - we would be starting nowhere.

From the BWA article the operative paragraphs are :-

"For the police, the notion of a measured distance would make evidence gathering so difficult that they believe it would be rare for cases to meet the evidence hurdle to get before a court.

And for prosecution authorities, they are very concerned that such laws provide drivers with the opportunity to construct a strong defence, making successful prosecutions difficult."

There is an additional problem which very few have mentioned. Assume that a cyclist has some method of reliably determining passing distance and assume that police officers or other witnesses are similarly endowered. This would solve the problems detailed above. But the remaining problem is that the driver has no reliable method of determining the distance. So is the driver passing at 800mm or 1200mm? He / she cannot tell. I am not a lawyer but for, as a matter of applied logic, for a law to be effective there must be a reasonable method for the potential transgressors to obey the law.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby briztoon » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:39 pm

A safe passing distance? The lane next to me! Until the culture in Australia changes, if it's not safe to pass a slower moving vehicle, for example a city council bus, it's not safe to pass a cyclist.

I would rather see a focus on driver (and rider) education rather than a fight to implement a safe passing distance. Introduce driving schools in to the school curriculum, making sure all aspects related to cycling are included. Include a number of interactions between car and cyclist in the drivers test, and if a learner driver fails any of these, they fail their test.

And I know it won't be popular here, but we need to change the cycling culture as well, where cyclists give way to motorised vehicles where and when the opportunity exists.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby totallybalanced » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:44 pm

Absolutely agree with more driver education, and for those of school-age. If you haven't ridden a bicycle in Australian traffic conditions then as a driver you may be unaware of the hazards created by the way you drive and handle a vehicle. For many in some countries in Europe there is a transition from bike riding as a child to bike riding and driving as an adult. They have experience of both and it is recent; rather than for many in Australia who may have ridden as a child but then transition to a vehicle without maintaining regular bicycle riding. That said: I still believe that there needs to be a minimum passing distance established under law.
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Re: Legalised safe passing distance opposed by cyling orgs..

Postby schroeds » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:25 pm

exadios wrote:
totallybalanced wrote: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.


I think the problem of one meter laws are that we would not be starting "somewhere" - we would be starting nowhere.

From the BWA article the operative paragraphs are :-

"For the police, the notion of a measured distance would make evidence gathering so difficult that they believe it would be rare for cases to meet the evidence hurdle to get before a court.

And for prosecution authorities, they are very concerned that such laws provide drivers with the opportunity to construct a strong defence, making successful prosecutions difficult."

There is an additional problem which very few have mentioned. Assume that a cyclist has some method of reliably determining passing distance and assume that police officers or other witnesses are similarly endowered. This would solve the problems detailed above. But the remaining problem is that the driver has no reliable method of determining the distance. So is the driver passing at 800mm or 1200mm? He / she cannot tell. I am not a lawyer but for, as a matter of applied logic, for a law to be effective there must be a reasonable method for the potential transgressors to obey the law.


Take a read of traffic rules....there are LOTS of enforcable distance-related rules.

To me the chances of successful prosecution are secondary to the effect of having a law....most people try to vaguely obey the law =safer cycling = lives saved

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