New Legislation is being proposed in Queensland, Australia that says motorists should allow a clear 1m distance when overtaking cyclists. South Australia’s present law states that “sufficient room” should be given when overtaking cyclists and other vehicles however this doesn’t provide an actual figure, which could cause confusion with motorists.
The changes were proposed by a group set up in response to increasing concerns about how motorists and cyclists interact. The head of the group, Jay Weatherill, said the government supported most of the recommendations made in a report by a citizens’ jury. T
Some say it would be hard to enforce this distance on every single occasion an overtake happens – however research into the Queensland trial, which started last April, has found it is generally accepted by road users. A recent survey after just six months of a trial there found that 75% are aware of the legislation, 67% support the legislation and most importantly 61% of cyclists have experienced greater distance from overtaking motorists.
The legislation also includes redefined rules allowing cyclists to ride on pedestrian walkways. The new plan will be introduced after parliament resumes in February.
Currently the law in Britain states that both drivers and cyclists must leave enough room in order to overtake safely. There isn’t a specific figure for either driver or rider to think about or too remember which surely can provide confusion. For this plan to work it does need co-operation from both parties. The main issue for an idea like this is how it would ever be policed or enforced. The 1 metre distance could be challenging to follow taking into consideration the variety of roads Britain has – Country lanes, dual carriageways etc. Speed limits on different roads could prove another influencing factor – we don’t think any cyclist want to be overtaken by a vehicle travelling at 60mph on a main road, leaving a distance of one metre! We do like what the law is trying to achieve in South Australia which is why we are asking if it could be functional in Britain, however there are a few more factors that need to be addressed.