US city enforces safe minimum passing distance – updated with AMG petition

In my discussions with the Road Safety Council and the RAC the main objection to a minimum passing distance was […]

In my discussions with the Road Safety Council and the RAC the main objection to a minimum passing distance was the difficulty of enforcing it. Is this another case of Australians being more inept than the rest of the world?  Consider what can be done in Austin (Texas), the oil capital of America (story below), while in Australia (in this case Queensland) a judge and a jury came to the view that bicycles on the road are a bit of a nuisance, even if that attitude results in a dead cyclist. (see this story in Crickey)

AUSTIN — Share the road.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Police are cracking down on motorists who are not giving bicyclists enough room on the road.

The city passed the Safe Passage Ordinance last year, which requires motorists to be at least three feet (92cm) from cyclists that they overtake. Commercial vehicles are required to give six feet (1.83 metres) of space.

San Antonio police Chief William McManus said on Wednesday that officers would be going undercover and on bicycles to ensure motorists are following the rules of the road.

“We will have officers out there on bicycles with a police car paralleling.  And in the event there is a violation, the bike officer will radio the car, the car will pull the motorist over and cite them for violation of the Safe Passage Ordinance,”  Mr McManus said.

Offenders may be fined up to $200.

Helen Hunt, a local cyclist, said everyone needed to be more courteous while sharing the road — including cyclists.

“They need to stop at stop signs. They need to stop at lights. They need to signal when they turn. I see cyclists ignoring the road rules as well,” she said.

The ordinance only applies within the city limits.  Cyclist like MS Hunt said they hoped other areas would catch on and pass the same type of rules.

“We don’t expect motorist to stick a yard stick out the window,” Mr McManus said. “The idea is: Give them a wide berth, give them a break.”




Protection for 4 million Australians and growing

Call for legislation of a 1 metre minimum passing distance when overtaking bicycle riders 

In 2011, 4 million people rode a bicycle in Australia, almost 20% of Australians.

The government is committed to doubling the number of people cycling by 2016 – which is great for traffic congestion, health, leisure, the environment and community wellbeing.

But with 35 bicycle riders killed and 9,577 injured in the same year – the human trauma costs of cycling in Australia are not acceptable.

Australian Road Rules are failing bicycle riders.  In particular Regulation 144 does not protect bicycle riders when being overtaken by drivers.

The tragic death of 25-year-old, Richard Pollett and the court finding this week, highlights the inadequacies of this regulation.  Mr Pollett was riding his bicycle when he was struck by a motor vehicle as the driver attempted to overtake him.  The driver was acquitted.  A life has been lost, and countless others will suffer eternally.  The Amy Gillett Foundation calls for all road users – individuals, groups and organisations – to help build momentum for change.

The best way to do this right now is to contact your local Member of Parliament and demand that a one metre minimum overtaking distance to become law.

The email and postal contact details for every MP in Australia can be found here>>, or you can email them directly by looking for them here>>.

A proforma letter is provided here which you paste in an email or into a formal letter.  Please add your own personal message if you wish.  In your email, CC to support the lobbying efforts of the Foundation and peer organisations.  The more letters sent, the stronger the message.

Let’s make ‘a metre matters’ law.  It already exists in countries in Europe and in 27 states in the US. The law is practical, enforceable, will reduce serious injuries and will save bicycle riders’ lives.

Everyone has the right to ride safely for work and play.


Online resources

A letter template for your MP>>

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Tag #ametrematters on Twitter>>


About Heinrich

Promoting everyday cycling