Minimum passing distance laws will be on the agenda when the Victorian parliament sits tomorrow after the Greens put forward a proposal for the laws to be introduced during the time of coronavirus restrictions.
Victorian state parliament will have an emergency sitting on Thursday to address issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic and social restrictions.
Since restrictions were put in place in March there has been an increased interest in bike riding, with sales at bike shops going through the roof and the number of people riding on trails growing.
The Victorian Greens said this is the perfect time to finally introduce minimum passing distance laws in Victoria.
“As more and more people, particularly families, are choosing to ride a bike for transport or exercise because of COVID-19, metre matters (minimum passing distance) laws will help make our roads safe for everyone," said Victorian Greens spokesperson for transport, Sam Hibbins.
"Implementing a minimum passing distance will quickly create more space for bike riders to be safely separated from vehicles."
Laws would require people driving motor vehicles to pass people on bikes at a minimum of 1 metre in speed zones up to 60km/h, or at a minimum of 1.5 metres in speed zones of more than 60km/h. This would be the same as other states, with Victoria currently the only place in Australia without minimum passing distance laws.
Bicycle Network General Manager of Public Affairs Anthea Hargreaves said that the time is perfect to introduce minimum passing distance laws and and help keep people riding.
"The growth in bike riding has left our trails at capacity, but many people don't feel comfortable riding on the road because of cars and motor vehicles. Minimum passing distance laws will help people keep riding," said Ms Hargreaves.
"People understand how to keep 1.5 metres from others when in line at Woolworths. There's no reason they can't do the same when on the road."
Minimum passing distance laws have gained widespread support in Victoria. Motoring membership group RACV have asked for the laws to be introduced, while VicRoads and TAC already recommend that drivers leave at least 1 metre of space when passing someone on a bike.
Bike riders in Victoria are also desperate for minimum passing distance laws to be introduced. A 2019 Ride2Work survey of more than 1,000 people who ride found that 80 per cent find interactions with motor vehicles concerning.
- See Bicycle Network's campaign for minimum passing distance laws
- RACV joins the call for passing laws