One meter matters: Minimum passing distances save lives on our roads

Released 03/03/2019

A visual display of the ACT’s minimum passing distance will again remind Canberra drivers that they must provide space for cyclists on the road.

In the ACT, drivers are required to keep a minimum passing distance of 1 metre when overtaking a cyclist at under 60km/h, with a distance of 1.5 metres required if a driver is overtaking at more than 60km/h.

Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury today unveiled Pedal Power’s minimum passing distance mats at the Big Canberra Bike Ride. These large printed mats provide a life scale visual representation of the minimum passing distance required between a bicycle and motorist on the road.

“In the ACT we simply do not accept that there should be any deaths on our roads,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“Cyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road because they are smaller and have less crash protection than motorists. Motorists must keep a safe passing distance to avoid rear end and side swipe crashes.

“The minimum passing laws are in place to ensure everyone’s safety, and we hope the demonstration of these printed mats will help reinforce this message to all road users.

“We need to look out for each other on the road so that we can all get home safely.”

To provide this distance on narrow roads, motorists are allowed to cross or straddle the centre lines, provided the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and that it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to pass, drivers must wait behind the cyclist until the road conditions change.

Drivers who fail to comply with this rule can receive a $292 fine and two demerit points.

Pedal Power received more than $4,600 from the ACT’s 2018 Road Safety Fund community grants program to purchase and display four life size printed minimum passing distance mats. The mats will be used by Pedal Power at their events and will also be available to other organisations on request.

In 2018, cyclists in Canberra participated in a new road safety research project to evaluate driver compliance with the minimum passing rule. These results are expected to be made public in coming months.

It comes as the inquest findings into the death of cyclist Mike Hall were made public on Friday.

The ACT Government will carefully consider the Coroner’s Report into Mr Hall’s death and will provide a formal response to the report in coming months.

On Friday Minister for Roads Chris Steel noted that prior to this incident taking place, the ACT Government had committed to up to $100 million to the upgrade the Monaro Highway. These recommendations will be considered as part of the planning work that is currently underway.

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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