A SEVILLE Grove cyclist is unsure whether the State Government’s new minimum safe passing laws will make riding on the roads any safer.
Matthew Schoof has enjoyed the freedom of cycling for almost a decade but admits taking a bike on the roads could be a dangerous pastime for both novices and seasoned riders alike.
“As riders you need to be very aware and always expect the unexpected; you need to be on the lookout for that one driver that has not looked properly to the right and pulls out in front of you,” he said.
He and other Perth cyclists are awaiting the introduction of the State Government’s new minimum safe passing rules later this month, which require motor vehicle drivers to keep a minimum distance of one metre between themselves and cyclists on a road posted 60km/h or less, and 1.5m for roads faster than 60km/h.
The changes allow drivers to cross centre-lane markings on road, including double white lines, to adhere to the safe passing distance, with the penalty for failing to do so a $400 fine and four demerit points.
Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said there had been success with similar laws in other states.
“Tragically seven cyclists have been killed on our roads already this year,” she said.
“Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road users and these new rules are designed to provide greater protection and hopefully reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths.
“It is about motorists and cyclist showing mutual respect for one another and sharing the roads together safely.”
Mr Schoof said he hoped the new laws would make cycling safer but said riders would always have to deal with a few bad seeds.
“You will still get the drivers out there that will throw things at you or call you names because you hold them up by a few seconds,” he said.
“It will certainly be better than having to tuck your elbows in to avoid being hit as the cars squeeze past.
“Part of the issue is also the roads, improvements can be done to improve the roads and make them wider to be more accommodating.
“Cyclists also need to be mindful of the drivers and cars, it’s about sharing and both cyclists and drivers need to cooperate together to make it safer.”
The new laws will commence on November 30.