$50 million in insurance payout prompts safer cycling legislation

Media statement, Wednesday, 12 February 2014.

Amidst news that cycling accidents have cost taxpayers $50 million in insurance payments over the last five years, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says it is time for the WA government to consider one meter passing distances in the state.

“Safer passing distances will not only reduce fatal accidents, but also decrease pressure on the Insurance Commission of WA, who has paid out $50 million to cyclists injured by motorists in the last five years.

“I will be introducing my Road Traffic (Keeping Safe Distances from Bicycles) Amendment Bill this year to make cycling safer for all. On roads where the speed limit is 60km/h or lower, drivers of vehicles should leave a one metre distance when passing a cyclist. Where the speed limit is above 60km/h, the passing distance should be 1.5 metres.

“Every week over 400,000 West Australians use their bike as a mode of transport. We want to encourage more people towards this sustainable mode of transport with increased safety measures.

“Perth’s congestion is at an all-time high. Cycling is not even in the top five way of getting to work in Perth, but it is in other states. The Committee for Perth recently found that many people are willing to bike to work when it is safer to do so.

A one meter passing distance was introduced in Queensland late last year in response to a spike in fatalities.

“We do not want an increase in fatalities to be the reason we jump behind safe passing distances, I urge the state government to be preventative rather than reactive when considering increased safety for road users.