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Bicycles need 1m+ space from passing vehicles, no exception. Bicycle Network, get with it!

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The Victorian Government Parliamentary Inquiry into the Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (Overtaking Bicycles) Bill 2015 is underway, and Bicycle Network have completely undermined the proposed laws with their proposed 'condition', which states:

"The legislation should not apply to bikes in [bike] lanes where the limit is 50kmph or below"

We urgently call on Bicycle Network to remove this condition from their submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry. 

This condition makes the proposed 1m/1.5m passing laws irrelevant on a huge number of Victoria's roads. It complicates what should be a very simple, unambiguous safety message.

It is never safe to pass a bicycle with less than 1m clearance. Never.

This condition will cause confusion for people, and it fundamentally undermines what should have been a really clear safety message.

The basic message of the new laws is that if it's not safe to pass, the driver should just wait until it is. Bicycle Network's proposed condition says that on roads where we already have substandard, narrow and most likely door zone bike lanes, drivers are ok to pass regardless. 

This condition requires both cyclists and drivers to understand and recognise the nuances of what is and is not a legal bike lane. This is an area which already causes confusion, as so many road markings that look like bike lanes do not in fact meet the legal definition, or AustRoads standards. 

Think of these scenarios:

  1. a school zone, 40kph. No safe passing requirement.
  2. a narrow, substandard bike lane placed in a door zone. Riders tend to ride to the right of the lane, to avoid dooring. No safe passing requirement.
  3. a rider is in the road shoulder. Driver thinks it's a bike lane, so doesn't leave 1m. 
  4. a substandard apparent bike lane, like on Collins St in Melbourne CBD. Drivers encouraged to squeeze past.

Once again, cyclists are copping the raw deal in roads that are poorly designed. Rather than try to improve driver behaviour and public safety in such scenarios, Bicycle Network's position encourages drivers to put their own convenience first, and endanger peoples lives. Bicycle Network are advocating for an "efficient use of road space" over the safe passing of its members.

This beggars belief.

Bicycle Network are in a unique position to have taken a real leadership position on this, but have missed the mark. 

Bicycle Network's submission can be found here: https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/media/vanilla_content/files/Better%20Conditions/Parliamentary%20Inquiry%20Submission_BicycleNetwork.pdf

The Bill under consideration can be found here: http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/PubPDocs.nsf/ee665e366dcb6cb0ca256da400837f6b/685537fbdb3ffd45ca257e0b001f530d%21OpenDocument

More information about the Parliamentary Inquiry can be found here: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/eic/article/2950



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