Earlier this week, the Amy Gillett Foundation welcomed the opportunity to appear in front of the Victorian Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Standing Committee to present on our submission to the Inquiry into the Increase in Victoria’s Road Toll.

The AGF’s submission, in response to three separate inquiries (Joint Select Committee on Road Safety; Inquiry into reducing trauma on local roads in NSW, StaySafe Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety; Inquiry into the increase in Victoria’s road toll, Economy and Infrastructure Committee) provides recommendations based on evidence and international best practice to improve road safety outcomes and create a safe environment for cyclists, while maintaining an efficient road network for all road users.

Our submission and presentation to this Inquiry focused on five key safety areas, including:

  1. Legislation changes to introduce Minimum Passing Distance Road Rules in Victoria. This is widely recognised as the greatest barrier to safety for cyclists and we have seen amendments made in every other state since we began our A Metre Matters campaign in 2009.
  2. Our recommendation to implement 30km/h default urban speed limits to reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury for pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a crash.
  3. The rapid roll-out of separated cycling infrastructure to ease congestion on our roads during the current increase in active transport participation.
  4. Vulnerable road user awareness training for truck drivers through education programs such as Sharing Roads Safely, which AGF has developed and is currently delivered to heavy vehicle operators on major projects across Victoria.
  5. The need for greater education for novice drivers in Australia on how to safely interact with cyclists. This can be achieved through programs such as Cycle Aware, a major study funded by the Australian Research Council, which developed content to address this gap.

During his opening statement to the committee, we heard from Dan Kneipp “We are currently experiencing unique transport challenges and opportunities due to COVID-19. According to the current Victorian Cycling Safety Strategy, published in December 2017, almost two thirds (60%) of Victorians were curious about cycling but did not ride because of concerns about safety.

The City of Melbourne has shown valuable leadership implementing temporary bike lanes, but this is just the start and is only scratching the surface – we have the opportunity now to do more, particularly to make our local streets safe.

Since 2016, Minimum Passing Distance has become law in NSW, ACT, Tasmania, NT and WA. Additionally, there is broad community support for an amendment to this road rule, including from the RACV. Victoria remains the only state that does not have Minimum Passing Distance road rules.”

It was a pleasure to appear before such a receptive Committee on this important Inquiry, which received 144 submissions, and to be given the opportunity to speak on cyclist safety issues that affect all road users. We look forward to a full review of the Inquiry by the Economy and Infrastructure Standing Committee of the Victorian Parliament and hope to see our recommendations included in their report for future consideration.

Article by AGF Media

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