a metre matters!
Join us to help us make cycling safer
The Amy Gillett Foundation is calling for action to amend the Australian Road Rules to legislate that drivers allow a minimum of 1 metre when overtaking bike riders on the road.
We invite you to collaborate with us.
Register your support today.
Add your group (BUG, Club, Community Group,…) or organisation (business, school, council…) as a supporter of 1 metre minimum overtaking distance legislation.
Click this link, to show your support for the ‘a metre matters’ movement (this link opens a preformatted email to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Write to your Member of Parliament
We encourage people to write to their State and Federal Members of Parliament to help drive legislative change. Read more>>
Why does 'a metre matter'?
This Briefing Paper written by the Amy Gillett Foundation outlines our recommendation on a 1 metre minimum passing distance, covering the logic behind the call and common questions on how it would work.
21 States in the USA and a number of countries around the World have adopted the 1 metre (3 foot) rules, this document (International Precedent) contains information including the Australian state by state recommendations and information of where minimum overtaking rules apply around the globe.
Questions, media requests and other interested parties can email the Amy Gillett Foundation Advocacy staff at this email address email@example.com.
Australian Road Rules are failing bicycle riders. In particular Rule 144 does not protect bicycle riders when being overtaken by drivers.
The government is committed to doubling the number of people cycling by 2016 – which is great for health, leisure, the environment, congestion and community wellbeing.
But with 35 bicycle riders killed and 9,577 injured in the same year – the human trauma costs of cycling in Australia are unacceptable.
At present every state transport authority (excluding Queensland and the ACT) ‘recommends’ drivers leave at least one metre when overtaking bike riders.
This communication is clear and easily understood.
However, there is no active or prolonged encouragement for this recommended behaviour. At the same time transport authorities support that the road rules are designed to prescribe and enable enforcement of required safe behaviour.
Consequently translating what is already recommended driver behaviour into legislation is a logical and practical step to changing behaviour.
The existing Australian Road Rules including Rule 144, do not protect bicycle riders when being overtaken by drivers. Drivers are permitted to make judgement calls regarding a ‘sufficient distance to avoid a collision’.
ARR 144—Keeping a safe distance when overtaking
A driver overtaking a vehicle:
(a) must pass the vehicle at a sufficient distance to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle; and
(b) must not return to the marked lane or line of traffic where the vehicle is travelling until the driver is a sufficient distance past the vehicle to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle.
The tragic death of 25 year old, Richard Pollett, highlights the inadequacies of this regulation. Richard was riding his bicycle when he was killed after being struck by a cement truck as the driver attempted to overtake him. The truck driver’s lawyer said the driver was under "the honest and reasonable belief" that there was enough room on the road to safely overtake him. The truck driver was acquitted.
Bill to introduce a minimum overtaking distance of 1 Metre
The Amy Gillett Foundation is asking all Member's of Parliament to lead the introduction of a Bill into their State or Territory Parliament for the amendment of the Road Rules and to lobby for the Australian Road Rules to be updated to set an improved national model. The amendment must introduce a regulation requiring a minimum of 1 metre when a motor vehicle overtakes a bicycle rider.
A minimum overtaking distance of 1 metre provides absolute and practical clarity. It:
- Recognises bicycle riders are physically vulnerable and need the protection of space
- Provides drivers with a clear, easily recognised measure when overtaking bicycle riders – otherwise they must slow down and wait
- Reduces the risk of bicycle rider-driver crashes, and bicycle rider crashes resulting from being side-swiped (but not hit) by motor vehicles
- Is enforceable; it allows a law enforcement officer or witness to readily observe a driver’s actions
- Would give consideration for a graded approach for higher speeds and very low speeds, though standardised legislation is more readily understood
- Will improve safety for bicycle riders
- Acknowledges bicycle riders are legitimate road users
- Will ultimately reduce bicycle rider fatalities and serious injuries.
This law already exists in countries in Europe and in 21 states in the US. The law is practical, enforceable, will reduce serious injuries and will save bicycle riders’ lives.
Everyone has the right to ride safely for work and play.