The word on the street and now in the local paper, the Fremantle Gazette is that Western Australian Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren will introduce a Bill to the Western Australian Parliament in Bikeweek to protect the vulnerable road users in 2014.
Michele Nugent has written in an article in the Fremantle Gazette that the safe passing legislation would impose a minimum one-metre passing distance for vehicles travelling 60km/h and under and 1.5 metres for speeds higher than 60km/h (Nugent, 2013). This reflects the approach being trailed in Queensland and now gaining interest in Tasmania. A South Australian Greens member of Parliament has also introduced similar legislation and the WA legislation has I believe been modelled on it.
Current Safe Passing Legislation (Regulations)
Personally having previously reported close passes under the current Road Traffic Regulations and having no success with this approach I do support the call for clearly defined safe passing distance legislation. I am now firmly of the view that the only way the WA Police would possibly issue an infringement notice related to safe passing is if one actually gets hit. Hardly a positive approach to road safety.
This incident involving a CTI Xpress vehicle is one such example. The outcome from WA Police was, you guessed it, no offence.
This incident involving an International Energy Services semi-trailer is another example of where a cyclist can be bullied, put at risk and no action taken. It really says something about our Police, our laws and our values when we can use our vehicles in this manner and it is considered safe and acceptable.
Safe Passing Legislation – Our Role
The big concern here in WA is that this is safe passing legislation is being put up by the Greens in the upper house and that as a result it can simply languish in the upper house without support from Labour and the government.
If as a cycling community we value the need and support safe passing legislation we need to let our local Member’s know, we need to let the Minister for Police, Liza Harvey know. As it stands Ms Harvey seems to have little interest in cyclist’s safety so we need to change this attitude.
Do we need or want safe passing legislation in WA? Please do share your thoughts below in the comments box.
Nugent, M. (2013, December 31, 2013). Bike safety is law’s target. Fremantle Gazette, p. 3). Retrieved from Fremantle Gazette website.