The approach to cycling safety in Australia seems to be based on rule making. Two examples are in todays press:
- A call for cyclists to use wider tyres to avoid Melbourne’s tram tracks; and
- A call for a mandatory ‘minimum passing distance’ for cars passing cyclists.
As a cyclist I have had numerous experiences of drivers passing too close for comfort. But I am not sure that poor driving or a lack of respect for cyclists can be legislated away. And I have also ‘gone over’ on the Swanston St tram tracks. It taught me to keep clear of the tram tracks, not to change to mountain bike tyres (which wouldnt fit my bike anyway).
The real problem for cyclists and motorists, I suspect, is attitude. Driving around France earlier this year two things stood out. First, there were a large number of cyclists ‘touring’ Southern France. Second, drivers treated them with caution and respect. Even though the roads were significantly narrower than in Australia, there was an attitude that drivers waited until it was safe to pass before they passed a cyclist. They did not squeeze through hoping for the best.
Now we can’t regulate for ‘respect’. But I also suspect that a minimum passing distance would be unenforceable.