Lee ‘Hollywood’ Turner with BA Publisher James Yaffa at this year’s Snowy Classic Gran Fondo event.


Publisher’s Note: Safer Cycling And The Amy Gillett Foundation

As the fallout from the recent and sudden closure of the Amy Gillett Foundation continues, James Yaffa explores where it went wrong and asks if the foundation did its job?

Firstly, let me say the Amy Gillett Foundation and its very successful ‘metre matters’ campaign was a huge step forward for our sport and all cyclists across Australia.    

The Foundation was established in 2006 after the death of Gillett, a former Olympic rower who had switched to track and road cycling. The 29-year-old was training with the Australian national team in Germany when she and her teammates were hit by a car being driven by an inexperienced motorist. He was subsequently fined around $AU3000 and disqualified from driving for 8 months. It was a truly heartbreaking tragedy, Australia losing fine young sportswoman. 

Over a period of close to 20 years the AGF was responsible for several major cycling safety advocacy campaigns, including efforts to enshrine into law the requirement that drivers leave at least one metre’s distance while passing a cyclist. 

The campaign began in 2009 and ended more than a decade later in 2021, when Victoria became the final state to update its road laws. Looking back, it’s astonishing to think that just a few short years ago safe passing laws were all but a dream.

The foundation did a wonderful job for cycling safety awareness here in Australia and I feel its impact hasn’t been recognised as much as it should. Make no mistake the meter matters campaign really stood out and, for the first time, put cycling safety on the map here in Australia.

As we all know, our fast-growing cities and regional centres have more and more people as immigration and overall population soar. 

This results in more vehicles on the road, but that’s not necessarily being matched by better roads! 

So where to after the unfortunate demise of the AGF? We need all remaining cycling advocacy groups to continue this critical legacy and do everything possible to improve cycling safety. I know Bicycle Network do a great job and kudos to them.

Success is often gauged by the ongoing legacy you create, and in this light, I feel the foundation did its job and the campaign delivered genuine change. So where did it all go wrong?

Advocacy groups and many charities often find it difficult to remain relevant and, over time, can struggle to raise much needed funds to simply stay afloat. 

It’s critical that the Albanese government is fully across the importance of cycling safety, advocacy, and rider awareness. Considering the numerous health benefits that cycling delivers, providing funding to help keep us all safe on the bike should be a national priority from our political leaders who want less emissions and a greener way forward. 

Until cycling safety is prioritised and adequately supported, we risk losing ground in ensuring the safety of cyclists on the road.

Getting more Australians on bikes needs to be a key focus, not simply painting more bike lanes, widening roads, funnelling traffic and selling more 4.5 Tonne V8 Ram utes.

Here’s to a metre matters.  

See you on the bike! unknown.gif


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