We just want some space
Monday, 5th May, 2014
By Andrew Robertson
One metre would make all the difference to the safety of cyclists, according to June Files.
Broken Hill’s best known cycling fundraiser believes fatalities involving bike riders could be reduced if drivers ensured they allowed at least one metre when overtaking riders.
Her comments come as the State’s Roads Minister has flagged the possibility of introducing a licensing system for push bike riders.
Duncan Guy is reportedly considering the move in response to a spate of accidents involving cyclists on Sydney’s roads which have resulted in two deaths in as many weeks.
Mr Gay told a Sydney radio program last week that he wanted to get tougher on car drivers but was “increasingly persuaded” that a licensing system for cyclists was also needed.
The measure would be used to target “bad” cyclists who were flouting road rules by “running lights, crossing over, being aggressive”, he said.
While she agreed there were rogue elements among the riding community, Ms Files said licensing them could do more harm than good.
The introduction of a licence could discourage people from riding, particularly if a cost was involved, she said.
This was counter to a growing awareness of the need for people to become more active.
“They want us healthy and they’re going to (charge) money for it,” she told the BDT.
Ms Files, who will later this year embark on another long fundraising ride for the RFDS, also foresaw practical problems with implementing a licensing system.
“I’d sit for it but how would you go with people under-age?”
Instead, she said the safety of cyclists could be greatly improved if drivers simply gave them more room on the road.
“We need to get everyone to allow a metre for a push bike rider.”
NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker has a bill before parliament that would “ensure drivers leave at least one metre when overtaking cyclists”.
Fellow Green MP Dr Mahreen Faruqi called on the government to support the bill which was introduced as a result of the “metre matters” campaign.
Meanwhile, NSW Labor has described Mr Gay’s plan as “unworkable, bureaucratic and impractical”.
“Unfortunately a registration system would not have prevented recent roads deaths and accidents involving NSW cyclists,” Shadow Minister for Roads Walt Second said.