A METRE MATTERS
The Amy Gillett Foundation’s a metre matters campaign, launched in November 2009 on the steps of New Parliament House, is based around a simple premise – drivers not hitting bicycle riders.
The message of the campaign is that when overtaking bicycle riders, drivers need to allow a minimum overtaking distance of one metre. 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 bicycle rider fatalities.
In some state and territories drivers are required to allow sufficient overtaking distance when passing a bicycle rider. Sufficient is an inadequate and unclear instruction that has repeatedly not protected bicycle riders. Legislative amendment, with appropriate education and enforcement, to mandate a minimum overtaking distance when drivers pass bicycle riders is currently the single most important action needed to reduce bicycle rider fatalities.
Launched at the 2014 Cycling Australia Road National Championships by Richie Porte and sponsored by Cycling Tasmania, a petition calling upon the Australian Government to amend the Australian Road Rules began. In total, the petition was supported by nearly 30,000 signatures and submitted to the Australian Government.
Since then the Amy Gillett Foundation’s a metre matters campaign has spearheaded the national effort for state and territory governments to amend road rules to specify minimum distances for overtaking bike riders. The Queensland Government introduced a two-year trial minimum overtaking distance trial, which began in April 2014, which requires motorists to leave a minimum of one metre when overtaking bike riders at speeds of up to 60km/h and 1.5 metres at speeds over 60km/h. In the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia, similar measures are due to commence. In Tasmania, a law allowing motorists to cross centre lines to overtake bike riders has been passed, while in Victoria legislation has been tabled to introduce minimum overtaking distances.