Media Release

A Metre Matters – Time to Make it Law!

22/01/2015 11:00 am

As the SA Premier prepares to respond to the recommendations of the Cycling Citizens’ Jury today, Greens Leader Mark Parnell MLC today called on the Government to legislate to require drivers to leave a gap of at least one metre when passing cyclists on the road.

The call is in support of a national campaign by the Amy Gillett Foundation, and has been supported by Greens MPs around Australia.

“The Government’s own Citizens’ Jury identified this rule as a priority to save lives. Now it’s up the Government to act,” said Greens Leader and keen cyclist Mark Parnell.

“As South Australia welcomes the Tour Down Under, our road rules are failing to protect cyclists year-round.

“Far too many bike riders are injured and killed on South Australian roads. Only this week, a further tragedy in Cheltenham has brought this to the front of our minds.

“A one metre minimum gap makes sense, and recognises the significant risk of vehicles overtaking cyclists, particularly at speed,” he said.

“It’s about creating a heightened awareness of the space that road users need to quite literally stay alive,” said Mr Parnell. “Lives will be saved.”

“Every year in Australia, an average of 35 bicycle riders are killed and more than 9,500 are seriously injured, and the trend is on the up in recent years.

“We need to follow the lead of Queensland where they have already implemented this rule. Internationally, the 1-metre legislated minimum gap is in place across Europe and in half the states in the USA.

“Our road laws must support safe cycling. The human trauma costs of cycling in SA are unacceptable,” Mr Parnell said.

The SA Greens’ recommendation is to require drivers to maintain a minimum overtaking distance of 1 metre on roads up to 60 km/hr, and 1.5 metres on faster roads. This will provide a protective space that will significantly reduce the risk of crashes resulting in the death or serious injury of bicycle riders.

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