Victoria’s Labor government voted down the “#MetreMatters” bill on May 10 which would have required motorists to give cyclists at least 1 metre of space when passing. Earlier in the day, Greens MPs had moved the bill in the upper house, where it passed with the support of Coalition MPs.
A rally of more than 100 cyclists that morning heard Greens MPs Samatha Dunn and Sam Hibbins explain the simple road rule changes they want to see enacted and recount some of the sad toll of cyclists struck from behind by motor vehicles. Three cyclists have died in accidents involving motor vehicles in the state in the past month.
The Labor government has promised a year’s trial of driver education about overtaking and passing cyclists, with Labor’s Shaun Leane telling the Legislative Council they were concerned the bill would allow vehicles to cross a double line while passing cyclists, potentially endangering other road users.
Greens MP Samantha Dunn responded that other states such as Queensland and New South Wales, which have comparable legislation already in place, have seen an improvement in the conduct of drivers passing cyclists. Dunn pointed out that current laws already allow drivers to cross a double line to pass an obstacle, but not to pass a cyclist.
The Amy Gillett Foundation, who campaign to reduce the incidence of death and injury to cyclists, noted: “Victoria is now the only state in Australia that does not have “a metre matters” laws in place permanently, in trial or on pledge, after the newly elected Western Australian government recently committed to a trial.”