NSW named worst state for cyclist deaths: call for 1 metre minimum when overtaking

Greens MP Jamie Parker has given notice of a Bill to require at least 1 metre overtaking distance when passing cyclists, in response to NSW being named the worst state for cyclist fatalities.

“NSW is the most dangerous state to be a cyclist, with an average of 11 deaths per year for the past decade, constituting 30% of the country’s total fatalities.

“The Australian Road Rules are failing bicycle riders and we must act urgently to save lives. I am appealing to the government and opposition to support this crucial and practical reform.

“Bicycle riders are physically vulnerable and need to be protected – we should be encouraging cyclists and ensuring they are safe.

“This legislation would also provide drivers with a clear, easily recognised measure when overtaking bicycle riders.

“NSW guidelines already recommend a minimum of 1 metre passing distance, demonstrating that the Government agrees this is an appropriate distance to protect cyclists.

“The existing recommendation is failing because it doesn’t have the force of the law – we must have a legally enforceable minimum passing distance to protect cyclists and prevent further loss of life,” Mr Parker said.

Cycling safety advocacy group the Amy Gillett Foundation has been pushing for the reforms.

Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation Tracey Gaudry said:

“Bicycle riding is becoming increasingly popular in NSW and across the nation, but with eight bicycle riders killed already this year on NSW Roads, the situation is dire.

“Roads are for sharing and for getting to your destination safely and efficiently. Bicycle riders are vulnerable and need space. The NSW Government already recommends that drivers leave at least one metre when overtaking bicycle riders, with more space at higher speeds. The AGF applauds the forthcoming introduction of a Bill in NSW Parliament to make this the law,” Ms Gaudry said.

NSW RTA guidelines on overtaking: “If you’re overtaking a bicycle rider, give them at least one metre of space to the side in a 50 km/h zone. If the speed limit is higher, you need to give the cyclist more space.” http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/geared/driving/getting_past_it.html

Media contact: Alison Martin 0432 941 533

Bicycle Rider Fatalities

Average deaths per year (past 10 years) – national comparison

NSW: 10.8
Vic: 8
Qld: 8.1
SA: 3
WA: 2.9
Tas: 1.5
NT: 1
ACT: 0.5
Total: 35.5

Bicycle Rider Fatalities in NSW:
2012 fatalities: 7
Decade to 2012: 108
Average deaths per year (for the past 10 years): 11
2013 fatalities (4 months to 30 April): 8

Life-threatening injuries from 2000-01 to 2008-09 in NSW
Total bicycle rider with high threat to life injuries for period (9 years): 1,813 cyclists
Average high threat to life injuries/year: 201 per year
Trend – average change per year: 7.2% increase

Serious injuries (hospitalisation) in NSW
Total bicycle rider serious injuries 2008-09: 2,701
Percentage of all road/land transport serious injuries: 17.1%

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