A METRE MATTERS
Launched in 2009, the Amy Gillett Foundation’s a metre matters campaign, is simply about drivers not hitting cyclists
- The message of the campaign is that when overtaking cyclists, drivers need to allow a minimum passing distance of one metre
- The minimum overtaking distance is a simple, common sense measure to give cyclists a safe space
- The genesis of the campaign arose from an Amy Gillett Foundation research project, and in particular, a report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau that found being hit from behind was the crash type that resulted in the highest number of cyclist fatalities
Current status of a metre matters around Australia
To find out more information about a metre matters campaigns in each state or territory, follow the links below:
- Australian Capital Territory – Safer Cycling Reforms
- New South Wales – Go Together
- Queensland – Stay wider of the rider
- South Australia – Stay wider of the rider
- Tasmania – Distance makes the difference
Timeline of the Foundation’s a metre matters campaign
April – Western Australia Newly elected Labor Government commits to trial a metre matters laws in Western Australia later in 2017.
March – Victoria The State Government decided not to legislate minimum passing distances, instead opting for a 12-month education campaign. READ AGF Release
November – the Tasmanian Government announced the amendment of the road rules to require drivers to provide a minimum distance when passing cyclists, to be adopted in Q1 2017. WATCH: the announcement here
This announcement builds on the two year cycling public education campaign and that used innovative and humorous messages about the importance of leaving a safe distance. WATCH: Distance Makes the Difference
September – Victoria’s cross-party Parliamentary Committee recommended to the Victorian Government that the road rules be changed to include a metre matters amendments, no Government response has been announced.
- Community attitudes monitoring commissioned by the AGF in October 2016 showed that the majority of Victorians (88%) supported this recommendation, more…
- Read the AGF submission here
- Read the Victorian Parliamentary report here
- WATCH: AGF’s Amy’s Share the Road Tour finish at Parliament House to again call for a metre matters to be legislated.
August – the ACT added a new competency to their driver licensing process that required new drivers to demonstrate care around vulnerable road users, including providing minimum distances when passing cyclists.
- This new competency was informed by research findings from a collaborative study conducted by the University of Adelaide, Monash University and the Amy Gillett Foundation.
May – the Australian Government Senate Committee recommended in their interim report that the road rules change to include a metre matters amendments.
- In 2015 there were 31 cyclist deaths due to road crashes, representing an average increase of 1% over the past ten years.
- This contrasts with the positive news that nationally over the last decade, the total annual deaths on our roads decreased by 24.6%.
April – Queensland After a successful two-year trial, the Queensland Government made the road rule amendments permanent.
- AGF commissioned community attitudes monitoring showed 60 per cent of cyclists noticed an increase the space drivers provided when passing.
March – NSW A trial of minimum overtaking distance rules started in NSW on 1 March 2016 as part of its ‘Go Together’ safety campaign.
- READ the AGF submission here
- a metre matters featured in our “It’s a two way street road safety campaign” over the past three years.
November – Australia Capital Territory commence a two year trial of the minimum overtaking distances.
November – Third and final stage of Queensland community attitudes into minimum passing distance research published
October – South Australia mandates the minimum overtaking distance. Read the AGF submission here
- The introduction was supported by an extensive education campaign led by the Motor Accident Commission.
- A Bike SA survey found that half (55%) of South Australian cyclists said drivers were respecting the rule to pass with at least 1 metre.
May – Second stage of Queensland community attitudes into minimum passing distance research published
November – AGF commission community attitudes research to to identify and track the awareness and effectiveness of the Queensland Government’s minimum overtaking distance legislative trial, read our research summary here.
April – Queensland Government announces a 2 year trial of minimum passing distances.
November – Queensland’s Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee inquiry publishes A new direction for cycling in Queensland – recommending 68 amendments.
June – Queensland’s Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee commences inquiry to improve the interaction between cyclists and other road users, with the AGF appearing at several hearings and making a submission:
“Over the last five years, the AGF a metre matters campaign has provided widespread awareness and educational messaging about the need to provide a minimum of one metre when overtaking bicycle riders. However, education alone has not been enough to protect bicycle riders. As evidenced by the not guilty verdict handed down in the District Court in Brisbane following the death of Richard Pollett.”
a metre matters national roll-out of education campaign with billboards and other collateral appeared on all over Australia.
Discussions within The Foundation about the life-threatening hazards faced by cycling identifies passing distances as the most critical behaviour to change. Minimum passing distance discussions evolve into a metre matters and the campaign is born. To be rolled-out , initially through education, driven by awareness and reinforcement.
November – Tony Fox, CEO AGF launches The Foundation’s a metre matters campaign with The Honourable Anthony Albanese, MP Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
Dr Ian Walker published his pivotal ‘Driver overtaking cyclists’ paper, which found when overtaking the test bicycle, drivers passed closer when the experimenter:
- rode towards the centre of the lane rather than the edge
- wore a helmet
- appeared male rather than female
Drivers of buses and heavy goods vehicles got significantly closer than other vehicles.
Based on Dr Walker’s findings, the Foundation’s Dr Marilyn Johnson wrote her PhD on a similar subject, Cyclist safety: an investigation of how cyclists and drivers interact on the roads (published in 2011).
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