Saving Lives Together

How is the one metre rule working for you?

Western Australian drivers and cyclists now have another opportunity to share their thoughts on the State Government’s Minimum Passing Distance Regulation for cyclists.

21 Jan 2019
To improve road safety for cyclists and encourage courtesy on the roads among cyclists and drivers, the Minimum Passing Distance Regulation was introduced in Western Australia in November 2017.

The law requires drivers to give cyclists a safe passing distance of:
  • 1 metre on roads up to 60km/h; and
  • 1.5 metres on roads more than 60km/h.
The Road Safety Commission has engaged Cardno to conduct a two-year evaluation of the Minimum Passing Distance Regulation, which includes community input to identify trends in the level of awareness and compliance of the law.

Drivers and cyclists are encouraged to complete the two-minute survey, even if they have responded in the past, and have their say on improving road safety for cyclists and promote safe interactions on the roads between cyclists and drivers.
 

34 Comments

  • Chris Howard 23/01/2019 6:54:28 AM
    I've noticed an improvement as a cyclist, and I think cyclists are less defensive as they feel safer. However there will always be a reckless and dangerous majority. For these the police must follow through on reports and fine.

  • Gary Suckling 23/01/2019 11:52:51 AM
    The fact that only a handful of people have been charged for breaking this rule indicates that the police aren’t treating the rule as a priority and until such time the general public are still relatively unaware. As always there are some motorists highly conscious and aware and the others are showing very little knowledge or regard.

  • Neil Hackett 31/01/2019 1:53:20 PM
    As a cyclist I've noticed motorists take more care to provide a sensible passing distance and as a motorist I am more aware of the legislative requirement. Multiple mature countries and international jurisdictions have this legislation to protect their citizens, why does WA have to continuously debate a common sense approach to cyclist safety and saving lives? Maybe its too much work for WAPOL, or maybe common sense just isn't that common?

  • Tom Bennet 31/01/2019 3:05:00 PM
    Reduce the number of mid road islands to allow cars (& trucks, buses) places to pass.
    Make it illegal to cycle on the road where a cycle path or lane is in place.

  • Trevor Palframan 1/02/2019 8:12:40 AM
    As a motorist I have found that it is very difficult to keep the 1m distance in some smaller streets. Traffic gets held up due to cars not able to pass legally. For safety reasons perhaps cyclists should be prohibited during the busy times on these type of streets.
    Also more has to be done to stop some cyclist blatantly breaking the law by going through red lights.

  • Alan Pugh 2/02/2019 4:38:51 PM
    Not for the first time did I come upon a group of cyclists riding 3 to 4 abreast on Gooseberry Hill Rd. They are very quick to accuse motorists of violating their space but feel they are untouchable when they break the rules. Let's introduce number plates for bikes so they can be brought to account.

  • Brendon Morrison 2/02/2019 5:15:41 PM
    This rule forces drivers who deliberately terrorise cyclists by driving close to them to think twice. It may not eliminate this kind of aggressive behaviour, but all logic says that it will reduce it.

  • Adam Maxwell 2/02/2019 5:36:21 PM
    I can't say I've noticed any difference. The idiots still make it their mission to drive close and the careful drivers give the wide berth they always did. As a driver, I've no clue how much space I'm leaving but I'm judging distance to be safe based on speed and road conditions. Amazingly I don't need legislation to encourage me to be a safe and courteous road user. Thanks

  • Helen Carter 2/02/2019 5:37:15 PM
    We’ve noticed a good improvement. Would still like to see a good police presence around the rule to keep it as a high priority. A lot more politeness and respect both ways. Please ensure it remains a meaningful law. Kind regards
    Helen Carter

  • Ian 2/02/2019 5:53:08 PM
    I am across the board on this one. As a cyclist yes some drivers invade the 1 metre zone but also as a car and truck driver it is amazing how many cyclists fail to keep left and ride a metre from the curb and then still want over a metre clearance which then also puts the driver in harms way. Them another pet peeve is when I am out running a cyclist will pass me at an unrealistic speed on a shared path at very close proximity. Also no use of a bell mind you and is not a bell mandatory? Now I ask as a member of all of these groups as I am sure to guarantee a lot of us are, should we not stop pointing the finger and tighten up our cyclist brethren first and then systematically work our way thru the groups.

  • Debra Graham 2/02/2019 6:05:55 PM
    Most drivers are courteous some are not. Even when cyclists are riding single file drivers get frustrated trying pass when there are islands in the middle of the road that make it impossible to do it safely. State Government and local Councils need to work together to make it practical and safer for both drivers and cyclists.

  • Anthony Georgeff 2/02/2019 6:28:49 PM
    I’ve noticed a distinct change in driving habits as a cyclist and this has shown me that most drivers are highly responsible and the law has helped formalise their behaviour. There is still a minority of drivers that don’t and I’d like to see more active enforcement of that and more follow up in cyclist video footage.
    I also appreciate that this has clarified overtaking rules as many drivers think they were entitled to squeeze past in a single lane, putting the cyclist at risk.
    So thanks, it encourages more cycling, gets more cars off the roads, and has reinforced that raids are things to be shared amongst multiple modes of transport. It also helps me and other people in bikes get home safely.

  • Jeff Maher 2/02/2019 6:33:23 PM
    I find that vehicles now are very much more aware of giving space when passing a cyc;ist. It feels safer riding now however the way many streets are designed with islands and trees in the middle it can create congestion for larger vehicles and say Transperth Buses. I think cyclists also are more conscientious of keeping over so vehicles can pass as well. No one wants to hold up traffic and most of us prefer to avoid the busy roads where possible but I think most drivers are very aware now of their obligations which adds to all our safety.

  • Matt Adams 2/02/2019 6:51:48 PM
    I noticed a change in driver's behavior almost straight away. People seem to be at least thinking about how they are going to overtake. Will take time.

  • NICK VROOMANS 2/02/2019 7:20:19 PM
    Most peole follow laws, rules and regulations and in general there has been an improvement on the roads in regard to cyclist awareness. As in States which have had these laws for some time, drivers and cyclists here will take a while to fully understand and embrace these requirements. In the mean time, there is still far too little education on the matter for existing motorists, and coupled with a reluctance by Police to adequately follow up on rider complaints, the situation is not likely to improve at an acceptable pace.

  • Stephen Lees 2/02/2019 8:22:37 PM
    I recently got a Fly6 fitted to the back of my bike and watching some of the footage it is obvious that most drivers are doing the right thing. In seven rides throughout January, I can only remember one close pass, but when viewed on the video, he was most likely the one metre it just felt closer. I've always been reasonably confident on the road, but I feel that the laws have improved things with drivers more aware of distances.

  • Hayden Shenton 2/02/2019 11:31:41 PM
    I am finding a lot (perhaps majority) of the road bikes around the Canning Bridge area do not even meet road regulation. No bells or reflectors as required and bad colours for visibility. Even outfits contrary to making selves visible. Unfortunately with the new laws cyclists choose pedestrian ways and road at a whim which has shown appalling arrogance. I viewed the most recent available statistics on side swipes over a five year period and was surprised at the lack of incidents. Perhaps if cyclists respected the then existing laws, showed better courtesy and appreciated their vulnerability we may not have needed the mandatory distance laws.

  • James Shepherd 3/02/2019 6:51:36 AM
    My experience is that the rule has had 2 effects....firstly and positively the considerate majority of drivers wait and pass in accordance with the rule often giving more room than the required distances for which I am grateful.....secondly and depressingly the inconsiderate minority (who we notice more as cyclists due to the risks) now pass as close as possible, sometimes seem to enjoy that they are putting lives at risk and continue to complain about cyclists having unequal rights etc....what is most demoralising about the minority is that trucks are still the worst offenders.

  • Dominic Beeson 3/02/2019 7:00:42 AM
    Marked improvement until there is an island in the road then it seems cars just have to squeeze through. May be some further education is required

  • Chris Smith 3/02/2019 7:52:40 AM
    As a cyclist and driver, I appreciate that in urban streets with central reservations it is really difficult to pass and relies on common sense from all parties, as a driver I just accept I’m going to be delayed, as a cyclist I pull out of the way as soon as possible.

  • Mike Richards 6/02/2019 7:48:34 PM
    As a driver and cyclist I have noticed the following:
    1. Drivers are still too impatient. Drivers of motor vehicles are still attempting overtaking to get in front before a traffic island or roundabout, resulting in a substandard passing maneouvre and squeezing out the cyclist in a dangerous manner.
    2. Sub 1/1.5m metre passing is still occurring where the cyclist is riding on the sealed shoulder (to the left of the unbroken line). Drivers seem to think because they are separated by the line they don't have to provide the required lateral passing distance. More enforcement and education is required as the 1/1.5 m distance is still required. I've lost count of the number of times I've been close passed riding on the shoulder.
    3. The sealed shoulder with a bicycle symbol is not a bike lane - can someone please produce an education campaign about this? A bicycle does not have to be in the sealed shoulder although most will ride there to allow passing and to be courteous. As a result close passing when inside the shoulder due to debris is more pronounced.
    4. There are drivers who still won't cross to the right hand lane on a two lane carriageway (Riverside Drive is a good example) and continue to 'buzz' cyclists in retribution for using a road legally. Bikes travelling too fast for a shared path should not be subjected to boorish behaviour on the road.
    5. The willingness of the Police service is crucial in forming future attitudes and actions. Too often we are hearing of a dismissive attitude by individual officers in following through with a complaint simply due to personal beliefs. This needs to change.
    6. Education campaigns still need to focus on vehicle operations with trailers. I can recall of four instances in the past 12 months where the vehicle passed with the required distance, but the driver did not factor in the towed trailer, with dangerous consequences.
    7. Most drivers are careful, somewhat patient and will pass with due regard, and for that, thank you. However the drivers passing without due regard will have always done so - some attitudes are appalling and the point 4 re enforcement by police would ensure a lesson is learned, not simply brushed off.
    8. Bike riders need to remember that bunch rides need to be controlled, not simply spilling over lanes especially approaching stops at traffic lights. Its no use if the passing laws exist if the riders don't do their bit to ensure a safe pass can be achieved.

  • John 7/02/2019 2:48:31 PM
    First off, I am a vehicle driver, motorcyclist and cyclist. The new 1m rule has not improved anything except to inflate the animosity between vehicle drivers and cyclists. I see some cyclists have capitalised and now think they own the road. I travel from the northern suburbs to Fremantle regularly and have to contend with, on average two or three cyclists riding abreast, oblivious to the traffic holdups they are causing - not to mention the rage. Just what is this costing the economy due to traffic snarl-up's and delays is anybody’s guess. I see cyclists flouting the road traffic laws and cutting in right in from of vehicles and when hooted at, have no qualms about presenting the middle finger to the motorist as bicycles do not have number plates, and are untraceable. What makes this so frustrating is that more often than not, there is a perfectly good cyclist track adjacent to road. I cringe having to say this - cyclists are a menace and most are long overdue for an attitude adjustment. They should be banned from using the roads where there is a cycle path, and incur huge fines when riding two or more abreast. Number plates and registration is long overdue.

  • Brian Thompsonmpson 15/02/2019 5:45:18 PM
    Initially there was a real improvement, but without more advertising drivers are getting back to where we were before the trial started. ie: They are too close

  • alfie frater 15/02/2019 6:18:53 PM
    Havent noticed much difference. I use two mirrors, have flashing tail light and have had brake-lights fitted to me 'E' bike and wear hi-vis. As a cyclist especially you have to be very aware and for me keep off the roads on Fridays when everyone goes nuts.
    from Albany.

  • Daz 15/02/2019 6:22:27 PM
    From an earlier post "Make it illegal to cycle on the road where a cycle path or lane is in place."
    Not all bike paths/lanes are suitable or even safe to ride on. Some paths have been badly neglected and are covered in debris (glass, gravel, honky nuts) and are sometimes badly broken and uneven. The road is often the safest option despite the traffic. Also, some cyclists actively compete and require uninterrupted kilometers where they can ride at speed or at certain gradients. Bike paths are usually unsuitable for this and so we ride on the road... It's crazy to tell cyclists to stay off the road... what if we say to car drivers to stay off the road and to walk on the footpath or take a bus every time they drive badly? There doesn't have to be so much arrogance.

  • david witts 15/02/2019 8:16:23 PM
    I truely think that most people who complain about bikes on the ride have never ridden in the city in traffic. it at the least makes the rider realise there is a fine line between coming home to your family safe and not coming home at all. Unfortunately it seems that again the minority of both groups are the problem. Truck drivers in the city are particularly bad at leaving distance for cyclists. Maybe it's time to put more people on bikes so they can experience it for themselves. Only then will there be an attitude change.

  • Geoff Cocks 15/02/2019 9:07:38 PM
    I have seen a marked improvement in the way motorists overtake cyclists.

  • Gregor McNab 16/02/2019 8:55:54 AM
    Feedback on bike rider and driver perceptions is interesting but statistics are critical in understanding how effective this legislation has been. In particular, I would like to understand if there has been a change in bike rider/driver collision related injuries. Also, I would like to understand the number of reports made by riders and how many of the reports resulted in a fine. I have recent experience where an extremely close call was reported to police and supported by video evidence and witness statements. The incident had the potential to result in multiple injuries or fatalities which were avoided by fractions of a second. Accordingly, this gives me a perception that the WA police are simply unwilling to implement this legislation despite reports supported by strong evidence but statistics may show my perception to be wrong.

  • John Morhall 16/02/2019 11:30:58 AM
    Generally most motorists observe the rule in my experience. Others have alluded to the problems of central reservations which remain a significant problem as they reduce the available road width, and slow traffic or promote unsafe overtaking of cyclists. Whereas cyclists are permitted to ride 2 abreast, there are many occasions when common sense suggests otherwise, and single file should occur. Generally the 1/1.5 m rule is working in my view.

  • Wendy Sekuloff 16/02/2019 12:08:24 PM
    To be honest, I haven't noticed a difference. Courteous and caring people before the law came in seem in the same number now as before, the number of obnoxious and inconsiderate drivers trying to make their presence known is similarly the same, sadly.

  • Mark Morgan 18/02/2019 9:12:05 AM
    Here's my cut'n'paste from the final survey question;
    Ask cyclists to afford bicycles the same courtesy we expect from drivers. Leave a safe distance when overtaking slower bicycles. Half a handlebar width is not sufficient - I have seen this scenario from both perspectives, and did not realise how dangerous it could be until I was caught by surprise and overtaken by a large group very, very close.
    When we're riding in a group, be mindful of traffic - split into smaller groups and/or drop into single file to facilitate vehicles attempting to overtake safely.
    Tell the drivers you appreciate their patience - just a wave or thumbs-up as they pass safely, especially if they've been waiting for a while.
    As a cyclist, we can only control our own behaviour - hopefully this will reduce the frustration that drivers (myself included) often feel.
    Yes, I know Strava times are important - but if we stay upright, we can always have another go tomorrow.

  • Driver 18/02/2019 10:35:42 AM
    I think this is a great solution and is working well but when drivers give cyclist plenty of room only for the cyclist to overtake at the lights and the driver needs to do it all over again is wrong and causes frustration...

  • Anna Heitz 18/02/2019 4:05:43 PM
    Anything that increases awareness of the responsibility of drivers towards vulnerable road users is a good thing. The MPD rule does this to some extent. Allowing vehicles to cross double white lines when safe to do so also helps to ensure safe passing distances. However, there needs to be more effective enforcement of the rule to make sure it stays uppermost in drivers' minds.

  • Jamie Hamilton 25/02/2019 7:50:59 AM
    In my experience most drivers were pretty good before the 1m rule, and the introduction of the rule has made this even better. There will always be a minority of dangerous drivers out there and this won't change because of the rule's existence, but from public examples of prosecution. Perhaps it would be helpful for the police to publish warning and infringement statistics? A 'positive' problem I occasionally encounter is drivers who are trying to do the right thing, but don't seem to be aware they can cross solid white lines to pass if safe - which only makes the cyclists a little nervous and any following cars even more impatient, but credit to them for doing the right thing. Final point as a cyclist and driver, I think we could do more to educate cyclists on cycling etiquette - to be better sharers of the road too. I've had other cyclists point things out to me in the past (e.g. not riding past all the cars stopped at red lights only to make them pass me again) and I've found it helpful, but not all cyclists are as receptive.

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