The Victorian Government has announced a year-long public education campaign to help change motorists’ behaviour and attitudes towards cyclists.
The “comprehensive” campaign will promote a safe overtaking distance for motorists when passing a cyclist, and will also assess how ready the community is for the introduction of a mandatory minimum passing distance, or “one-metre rule”.
It will be the first part of a two-stage approach. Stage two, to be implemented only if the community education campaign delivers “unsatisfactory” behaviour change, would take the form of a trial evaluation of a minimum mandated overtaking distance.
The announcement is a response to the Economy and Infrastructure Standing Committee’s inquiry into the Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (Overtaking Bicycles) Bill 2015.
The RACV has welcomed the education campaign announcement, with Brian Negus, RACV’s General Manager Public Policy, saying that as population and traffic pressures increase, “it’s more important than ever that we work to improve mobility for all Victorians whether they are riders, drivers or pedestrians”.
“All road users have a responsibility to share the road,” says Mr Negus. “That’s why we support the Government’s decision to make greater investment in public education of safe road practices.
“The RACV is also calling for changes to be made to existing roads as well as for investment in new infrastructure that would make the roads safer for everyone. Minimum lane widths for bicycles and cars should be mandated for all public roads in Victoria,” said Mr Negus.
“Where space is limited, as on Sydney Road, on-street parking should be removed, making way for separated bike lanes and wider footpaths. These kinds of practical solutions will make the road safer for everyone.”
The RACV submission to the Economy and Infrastructure Standing Committee in March 2016 called for greater investment in public education of safe road rules and a specific “Share the Road” campaign. The RACV also called for the government to invest in more separated bike lanes both off-road and on-road for cyclists. The submission also outlined RACV’s concerns about the impracticality of enforcing a “one metre rule”.
The RACV’s submission to the Economy and Infrastructure Standing Committee can be found on the RACV website.