Cycling advocacy organisations from across Australia have united in a national call to action focusing on rider awareness, safe passing, and respect on our roads.
Amy Gillett Foundation CEO Phoebe Dunn said combined education and enforcement can be highly effective in increasing safety for all road users and cyclists in particular.
“We are pleased to be discussing a range of issues around cycling safety with police nationally, including enforcement and education of minimum passing distance with senior representatives of NSW Police, the NSW Centre for Road Safety and Bicycle NSW,” Ms Dunn said.
Other Organisations Stand With AGF
Australian cycling organisations have joined the Amy Gillett Foundation in pledging to raise awareness of the importance of leaving a safe distance and a visible demonstration by Police of the legitimacy of bicycle riders on roads.
Bicycle NSW issued a statement saying minimum passing laws – which are currently in place in every state except Victoria – are not enough and enforcement of Minimum Passing Distance needs to take place.
Bicycle NSW, Police and the Amy Gillett Foundation have agreed to work together and joined with cycling organisations across Australia including Bicycle Queensland, Bike SA, Pedal Power ACT, WestCycle, Bicycle Network and national body Cycling Australia.
Popular West Midlands Campaign Highlighted
In a presentation at the 2018 Australasian Road Safety Conference, representatives from We Ride Australia showed the popular West Midlands Police video detailing their successful safe passing campaign. Having now been adopted by over half of all County Police forces in the UK, the video and campaign have become well-known and highly-respected the world over.
Bastien Wallace, General Manager of Public Affairs at Bicycle NSW, said Australia has failed to implement a harm elimination agenda to protect vulnerable road users.
“We need the State and National Government to implement road safety measures that prioritise the protection of people,” he said.
“Bicycle NSW applauds the efforts Bicycle Network and the Amy Gillet Foundation to get Minimum Passing Distance legislation passed in Victoria, and supports the national call for increased driver education and police enforcement of safe passing to protect people riding bikes.”
Bicycle Queensland Working Closely With QPS
Other state-based advocacy groups have supported the action and highlighted their priorities in the area of rider safety.
Bicycle Queensland CEO, Anne Savage, spoke highly of work currently underway between BQ and Queensland Police.
“We’re looking at a comprehensive package of measures to assist both bicycle riders and Police improve the enforcement of safe passing laws in Queensland,” she said.
ACT Investing In Distance Mats
Pedal Power ACT CEO, Ian Ross, said he was working with Federal Police and looking to use similar mats as featured in the UK campaign.
“In the ACT we are discussing a campaign with Police based on improved awareness and education on safe passing distance,” he said. “We have received funding to buy the mats used by UK Police in their enforcement and education campaigns.”
Bicycle Network CEO, Craig Richards, said it was “wonderful to work with Tasmania Police to develop guidelines for their members and riders.”
“If a person driving a vehicle passes a person on a bike too closely and it’s not seen by the police, it’s great for riders to know their concerns will be heard,” said Mr Richards.
Western Australia Towards Zero
Western Australia’s WestCycle CEO, Matt Fulton, said if we are truly committed to the Towards Zero strategy we must find initiatives that address vulnerable road users.
“And we look forward to continued dialogue with the WA Police, Road Safety Commission and Minister of Police and Road Safety Hon Michelle Roberts MLA, on measures that will make a tangible difference to the community,” he said.
Cycling Australia CEO, Steve Drake, said “we want not only our future cycling champions and Olympians to be safe when they are out riding their bikes on our roads, but every Australian who loves to ride their bike.”
- The video interview with the UK West Midlands Police, PC Steve Hudson, can be seen here: www.weride.org.au/what-we-do/resources/videos/.
- A 2017 report led by Dr Ben Beck in the MJA called for measures, such as the lowering of speed limits in residential areas, to address the worsening of serious trauma for bicycle riders that has seen a more than doubling of major trauma over the last nine years.
- The 2018 report of the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy raised serious concerns for the safety of bicycle riders (and pedestrians) on Australian roads and made recommendations to induce a ‘step-change’ with twelve recommendations that, if implemented, will transform road safety performance.
- The 2017 National Cycling Participation Survey revealed that around 3.74 million Australians ride in a typical week, and 8.23 million do so over a year.
- However, national surveys show that of the two thirds of Australians not currently considering riding a bike for transport, more than a half would if conditions were safer on our roads and there were options to avoid traffic on separated paths.