Cyclists on our roads: 'The hatred has got to stop'
MINIMUM passing rules for motor cyclists introduced as a trial two years ago will be retained as a permanent feature of the Queensland road rules.
The rule requires motor vehicles to provide cyclists with a minimum passing distance of one metre when they are being overtaken at 60 km/h or less and 1.5 metres where speeds are greater than 60 km/h.
Motorists will be allowed, where safe to do so, to cross centre lines, even with double unbroken lines and to drive on painted islands, as long as it is safe to do so to pass a bicycle rider.
The move, announced by the Queensland Government today, has been welcomed by cyclists and bicycling organisations.
Bicycle Queensland spokesman Martin Beeson said however minimum passing distances remained just a small part of the solution to keep bike riders safe.
Do you keep 1m between the car and cyclists when passing?
This poll ended on 14 April 2016.
Yes. I know what it's like to have a fast-moving car pass you closer than that.
No. I think it should be up to them to move out of my way.
I didn't know this was a rule.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"Of the Bicycle Queensland members who responded to our 2015 Members Survey, 66% of them said they feel safer while riding since the introduction of the minimum passing distance laws," Mr Beeson said.
"It's important to thank and acknowledge those people driving cars who are consciously giving more space to people riding bikes."
But he said while making the laws permanent was a step in the right direction, bikeway infrastructure and stronger enforcement of the rules were required to guarantee safety for bike riders.
"Investment in infrastructure, not laws, is the long-term answer to safer roads for everyone," Mr Beeson said.
Dave Fellows, a Sunshine Coast cyclist who organises the annual Toowoomba to Mooloolaba ride believes deeper cultural change is required which be driven by a CleanUp Australia or Life Be In It campaign.
Mr Fellows said recent incidents where motorists had deliberately run down cyclists were disturbing.
He recounted a recent incident where a group of cyclists he was in riding single file on the Coolum-Yandina Road was "swooped" by a motor cyclist on a straight stretch of road with no over vehicle in sight.
"It makes no sense,'' he said.
Mr Fellows said he felt safer riding on Thailand's congested roads where everyone looked out for each other rather than driving obliviously.
Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey announced the decision on the two-year anniversary of the trial, while launching a re-boot of the Stay Wider of the Rider education campaign.
Mr Bailey said the decision follows a recommendation from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q).
"We commissioned CARRS-Q to independently evaluate the rule, in terms of its road safety benefits and practical implementation, to inform the Palaszczuk Government's decision - delivering on a 2015 election commitment," he said.
"The report found the rule has been very effective in improving motorists' awareness of bicycle riders.''
Mr Bailey said the evaluation found that awareness of the rule is very high, however there was less awareness of the ability to cross centre lines when safe to do so.
A second phase of the Stay Wider campaign, will have a strong educational focus, and will run from April to June to remind road users of the rule, including the ability of motorists to cross centre lines when overtaking bicycle riders.
The Palaszczuk Government will invest $163 million over four years to upgrade cycling infrastructure which Mr Bailey says is a fundamental part of our transport system, not an optional extra.
The money will deliver over 88 kilometres of cycling facilities when completed.
A further $10 million has been allocated to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety through road upgrades addressing known and potential crash locations.