Motoring group RACV has joined the calls for minimum passing distance laws to be introduced in Victoria and have asked the state government to release results from the 2017 Share the Road campaign.
RACV would like to see a trial of laws that would make people in cars pass people on bikes at a minimum of 1 metre in 60km/h zones and 1.5 metres in speed zones above 60km/h.
Victoria is the only state or territory in Australia without minimum passing distance laws, despite a 2016 parliamentary inquiry recommending that the law be introduced.
Instead of bringing in the law, the Andrews Labor Government opted for the Share the Road education and awareness campaign. It was hoped that the campaign would be enough to encourage drivers to leave more room when passing riders.
“In March 2017, the government agreed to trial minimum passing if the community education campaign was ineffective in achieving safety benefits for cyclists. As well as a trial, RACV is also calling on the government to release the findings of the report, which should indicate whether the campaign was successful or not in changing driver behaviour,” said RACV Senior Manager Transport, Planning and Infrastructure, Peter Kartsidimas.
“The government needs to do more and that’s why we are calling for a trial of a minimum passing distance rule for motorists when overtaking cyclists.”
Bicycle Network would also like Victoria to finally be brought into the line with the rest of Australia and introduce minimum passing distance laws, along with a special enforcement operation by police.
A 2019 Ride2Work survey or more than 1,000 bike riders found that 80 per cent find interactions with motor vehicles concerning.
“Victoria needs minimum passing distance laws to help more people ride a bike. Riding among cars is the biggest concern for people who ride and a passing distance law is one way we make riding more comfortable.”
“As well as passing distance laws we also need a special police bicycle unit to detect and stop drivers who pass to closely.”
Bicycle Network's 2019/20 Victorian state budget submission called for a plain-clothed police to ride bikes equipped with cameras to catch people who break minimum passing distance laws.