Pure joy for Amy’s family as South Australia says a metre matters

by / Thursday, 22 January 2015 / Published in Media release

A third jurisdiction supports minimum overtaking distance laws 

Amy Gillett’s home state of South Australia has declared itself a leader in bike rider safety, becoming the third jurisdiction to commit to legislating a minimum overtaking distance of one metre for drivers overtaking bike riders.

Premier Jay Weatherill announced his support of minimum overtaking distance, in response to the suite of recommendations handed down to by the South Australian Citizens’ Jury on the topic: Motorists and Cyclists will always be using our roads – What things could we trial to ensure they share the roads safely? 

The Family 

Amy’s mother Mary Safe thanked the South Australian Government for their pledge to improve bike rider safety during a significant year for her family and the Amy Gillett Foundation.

“My heart is filled with pure joy with the Government’s commitment to implement safe passing distance laws in Amy’s home state, it’s such a watershed moment ten years after her death,” Mary said.

“It is a win-win for both cyclists and motorists. It will reduce the incidence of death and injury for cyclists, and will result in less motorists living with the grief that they injured or, at the very worst, killed a cyclist. That kind of grief never goes away.”

“I ask South Australians to embrace this new law so we have a legacy of respect for all who share our roads.”

Mary was actively involved in the Citizens’ Jury process.

The Foundation 

Amy Gillett Foundation CEO Tracey Gaudry congratulated the South Australian Government on their leadership in implementing the legislative change targeted at improving safety for all road users.

“In 2014, 45 people lost their lives while riding a bike on Australian roads and research has confirmed the most common bike rider fatality crash type is being hit from behind by a motor vehicle travelling in the same direction,” Gaudry said.

“We applaud the South Australian Government for recognising that refining existing laws to provide a measurable benchmark for safe overtaking distance is the leading action needed to reduce these tragedies.”                

The Riders 

The Amy Gillett Foundation’s a metre matters campaign has spearheaded the national effort for state and territory governments to improve road rules to specify minimum distances for overtaking bike riders.

Santos Tour Down Under favourite Richie Porte launched the national a metre matters petition, co-signed by Cadel Evans and Anna Meares, at the National Road Championships in January 2014.

“With a boom in recreational cycling over the last decade, it’s vitally important that bike riders are protected on our roads,” Porte said.

“We know that space matters when passing bike riders and it’s good to see the government refining existing laws to provide clarity for drivers when overtaking bike riders.”

Champion Australian cyclist and South Australian native Anna Meares agrees.

“This is a fantastic step by the South Australian Government to improve bike rider safety on South Australian roads,” Meares said.

“I’ve been involved in the Amy Gillett Foundation’s a metre matters campaign and strongly believe that defining a minimum overtaking distance for cars overtaking cyclists will help save lives and will encourage more people to jump on their bike and ride around our beautiful city.”

Other Recommendations

Premier Weatherill responded to ten Jury recommendations, supporting seven in full.

The Foundation welcomed the Government’s commitment to:

– Introduce formal cycling education in both primary and secondary schools
– Include questions on bike riding in learner driver licence testing
– Deliver a collaborative safe roads awareness campaign

The Foundation will also support the South Australian Government and local councils in trialling reduced speeds and altered traffic flow in the CBD and local neighbourhoods.

The Amy Gillett Foundation was actively involved in the Citizens’ Jury process and is committed to supporting the South Australian Government in implementing these changes.

“Collaboration is critical to improving attitudes and behaviour throughout the community and we will continue to be actively involved in South Australia, providing support to ensure these recommendations will be effective in saving lives,” Gaudry said.

Read the South Australian Government’s full response here.

Read the full Citizens’ Jury report here.

The Amy Gillett Foundation urges Prime Minister Tony Abbott to continue riding his bike to help maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and be a positive role model for Australians of all ages.

The Prime Minister’s retired physician Doctor Graeme Killer recently raised concerns that Mr Abbott may be at risk while riding his bike on the road.

As an avid rider, Mr Abbott has extensive experience riding on different roads and in varying conditions across the country during his daily exercise routine. He also enjoys the numerous benefits of riding a bike, such as maintaining health and fitness, and the enjoyment of interacting with people of all walks of life in the bike riding community.

People in positions of influence, such as health professionals, politicians and transport leaders, can all contribute to safer bike riding in Australia by taking positive steps to improve bike education and skills, infrastructure and vehicle design, and raise greater awareness of how drivers and bike riders can share the road safely.

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