An overhaul of Queensland cycling rules will include a safe distance provision and increased penalties for breaking road rules, as the Newman Government delivers better planning for safer roads.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said many of the 68 recommendations put forward by the Transport, Housing and Local Government committee would directly lead to safer road conditions for Queensland cyclists.
“This is the first major examination of cycling laws in more than two decades and I thank the committee for its efforts in travelling across the state and consulting widely with the community,” Mr Emerson said.
“I will take the next few months to consider the full report but I will be supporting recommendation 8, or the so-called one-metre rule.
“This will mean that motorists must maintain a minimum distance of one metre when passing a cyclist in a 60kph or less zone, and 1.5 metres when travelling above 60.
“This rule was heavily supported by the cycling community and I’m prepared to conduct a two-year trial to test its practical implementation.
“I’ll also support recommendation 31 – bringing fines for cyclists into line with those imposed on motorists. For example, currently the fine for entering a level crossing with a train approaching is $110 for cyclists and $330 for motorists.”
In June the committee was asked to look at a number of cycling laws, including:
- short and long term trends in bicycle injuries and fatalities involving motor vehicles
- evaluation, considering factors such as effectiveness, enforceability and impacts on other road users of existing and any other alternative road rules, such as the 1m rule, which govern interaction between cyclists and other road users
- current penalties and sanctions, including where there are differential fine rates for cyclists compared to other road users
- the potential benefits and impacts of bicycle registration
Mr Emerson opposed the committee’s suggestion (recommendation 15) to remove the need for helmets in 60kph and less speed zones and on bike paths.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into this issue since it was first raised six months ago and I’m yet to be convinced of its merit,” he said.
“Personally I’m a big believer in the benefits of helmets and I believe the evidence shows helmets reduce the risk of serious injury.
“I note that many of the recommendations address issues with education and the design of cycling infrastructure.
“I’m also pleased that many of these recommendations are designed to reduce the tension that can exist between cyclists and motorists on roads.”
The full report is available at http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2013/5413T4163.pdf