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by Mark Zalewski
March 24, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Bouhanni survives climb to win Catalunya stage; Pichon wins Coppi e Bartali opener; CCC Sprandi Polkowice takes TTT; Kristof Allegaert leads the Indian Pacific Wheel Race through the halfway point; Victorian cyclists miss out on minimum passing distance law; ASO strikes deal for race in China; Weening abandons Catalunya; Sporza secures rights for Flanders Classics through 2024; British Lord blames cycle lane for aiding Westminster attack; Lotto-Soudal boss hopes Dwars door Vlaanderen was a lesson; Girdlestone continues to defy odds, entering Le Race this weekend with top bib; World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry meets at Taipei Show; Van Garderen called out on social media for ‘rule infraction’; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Focus on ORICA-Scott; South America Bites : A New World Record.
The Victorian government has announced that it has no immediate plans to introduce a minimum passing distance law for vehicles overtaking cyclists. In a reported tabled in state parliament today, the Daniel Andrews Labor government revealed its two-stage approach to the issue of rider safety, after considering recommendations made by an Economy and Infrastructure Committee inquiry last year.
While the inquiry recommended introducing a minimum passing distance trial — following in the footsteps of other Australian states and territories — the government will instead develop a “year long community education campaign designed to change motorists’ behaviours towards cyclists”. The government report reveals that a mandated minimum passing distance for motorists will only be trialled “if the community education campaign is ineffective in achieving safety benefits for cyclists.”
The government has expressed “in principle” support for many of the recommendations made by the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, including that of a minimum passing distance of 1 metre on roads with a speed limit up to and including 60km/h, and 1.5m on faster roads. The report added that support for the recommendations “is dependant on the outcome of Stage One, the community education campaign.”
Should a passing distance trial eventually go ahead, it will do so under the auspices of a “Technical Working Group”. This group, convened by the government’s “road safety partners”, will help draft the trial rules, “to minimise unintended negative consequences, and maximise safety outcomes for cyclists.” The group will consider the potential challenges that come with an overtaking law trial, such as: whether to allow drivers to cross continuous centre lines; how to manage traffic on narrow roads; and the impact of a minimum passing distance on intersections in the Melbourne CBD and other inner urban environments.
The Amy Gillett Foundation, a key player in the push for what it calls “a metre matters” legislation, has reacted to today’s news with frustration. “Today’s announcement by the Andrews Government not to legislate a metre matters in Victoria is extremely disappointing, and goes against the clear recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry,” said Amy Gillett Foundation CEO, Phoebe Dunn. “While disappointed in the decision not to legislate, we are committed to working closely with Government and relevant agencies to implement the education campaign and make it as effective as it can be in the absence of legislation.”
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