Cycling: Greens MLC pushing for one-metre rule to become WA law

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren. Picture: Facebook
Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren. Picture: Facebook

THE release of a new cycling code of conduct proves a one-metre rule needs to become law in WA, according to South Metropolitan MLC Lynn MacLaren.

Ms MacLaren has been pushing for the legislation of a one-metre rule to protect cyclist for two years, saying advice in cycling body WestCycle’s new code of conduct that drivers should allow a metre of space when passing bike riders reinforced her belief that such a rule should become law.

She said since first introducing the amendment bill in 2014, five other states either had put legislation in place or were carrying out trials and that it was time for WA to do the same.

“While it’s unfortunate that some drivers still don’t demonstrate sufficient regard for other road users, an unambiguous one metre rule in tandem with a widespread community education campaign such as Queensland implemented, will contribute towards creating a cultural shift in driver behaviour that will result in safer roads for everyone,” she said.

“Since first trialled in Queensland it has won strong support from all road users, motoring organisations and the general public and has led to a reduction in cyclist deaths and injuries in that state.

“Raising awareness of the rules for people who are riding a bicycle and people who are driving a motor vehicle will help to make our roads safer for everyone.”

WestCycle chief executive Matt Fulton said the code of conduct, which they hope to release in the next two months, aims to ease tension on the road by providing a guide for cyclists to follow whether riding alone or in a group.

“As bike riders it is very difficult for us to control the thoughts and behaviours of drivers, we can however directly influence our own behaviour and if we uphold the highest of standards at all times we hope that this will lead to better relationships between motorists, pedestrians and bike riders,” he said.

“In a way this is riders extending an olive branch to other path and road users but we all need to address our behaviours to make it safer.

“Cycling has grown at such a rapid rate that we just can’t keep up with infrastructure requirements.

“To make riding safer we need a number of measures, which the code of conduct is one, because we all want a dramatic reduction in the number of lives lost and people seriously injured.”

Mr Fulton said the code would also give information to drivers to help them drive safely around cyclist, explaining situations such as why cyclists ride two abreast, why they ride a metre out from the gutter and why they stay in the middle of a lane when going into a roundabout.

Visit WestCycle for more information.