Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 November 2014) . . Page.. 4142 ..
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (6.58): I rise to update the Assembly on the progress of an important trial that is occurring in Queensland whereby drivers of motor vehicles are required to leave at least one metre when passing a cyclist. The policy is often referred to as the “metre matters” policy.
This is especially relevant to our Assembly because, as members will recall, following the Assembly committee report on vulnerable road users, the government agreed to trial a minimum passing distance rule in the ACT. This will require vehicles to leave a minimum overtaking distance of one metre in speed zones of 60 kilometres an hour and below, and a minimum 1.5 metre passing distance in speed zones above 60 kilometres an hour.
The anecdotal evidence on the progress of the trial in Queensland has been very good. A letter forwarded to me from the Hervey Bay cycling club has some interesting facts and observations. This is a particularly interesting club in that it is made up of an equal number of females and males, which is not always the case in a cycling club, and because the majority of its members are older riders who are over 60 years old.
The club say that since the trial began they have noticed far more courtesy shown towards their riders and reduced road rage and abuse directed towards them. They say that “motorists are generally giving us far more room when overtaking”, “more motorists are waiting until it is safe to pass where there is limited room”, and “there seems to be a general feeling among our members of increased safety when we are on the road”. They concluded by saying, “Generally speaking, the new trial rules have had a very positive effect in our region for cyclists.”
As another example, in November this year a group of 30 cyclists, including 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rochelle Gilmore, are riding from Brisbane to Airlie Beach, raising awareness of cycling safety. Rochelle Gilmore said that this year’s event marks the first time riders have toured Queensland under new minimum overtaking distance legislation and that it was “quite overwhelming to see the change” in driver behaviour. She said:
I can’t believe how much respect we’re getting … It’s an obvious indication people are getting the message … There’s a significant difference in the feeling of motorists towards cyclists.
Very recently the anecdotal evidence has been backed up with more formal statistics. The Amy Gillett Foundation commissioned independent market research to identify and track the awareness and effectiveness of the Queensland government’s minimum overtaking distance legislative trial. The key market research findings were very positive and included results such as 75 per cent of frequent drivers being aware of the minimum overtaking distance legislative trial and 70 per cent of all road users being aware of the trial, 67 per cent of road users agreeing with the legislation, 67 per cent of all road users believing that the “Stay Wider of the Rider” awareness campaign—