Drivers are being urged to keep one metre away from cyclists when overtaking on roads around Orange.
Orange is the first local government area in the state to be the focus of the ‘A METRE MATTERS’ awareness campaign funded by Transport for NSW and the RMS.
Orange City Council’s Works Depot Manager Wayne Gailey said two local buses will now carry the road safety message.
“Orange has a growing number of residents who are choosing to make the daily commute by bicycle and through the ‘Cycle Towns’ program, the council has been working with the RMS and Transport for NSW to make Orange more attractive for people to choose to walk or ride as part of their daily commute,” Wayne Gailey said. “Campaigns like this are about encouraging drivers to share the road.”
“The slogan that A METRE MATTERS is an easy reference point to the road rules both for drivers and cyclists. It means that drivers should make sure there is at least a metre between their car and a cyclist when they overtake.”
“It also a reminder of the road rules for when a car overtakes a cyclist. When it is safe and there is no oncoming traffic, a car is allowed to move over the centre lane to pass a bike, and at all times they must keep one metre away.”
The advertising artwork on the backs of buses is provided by Transport for NSW, with particular support from the RMS, and is being implemented by Orange City Council through the Cycle Towns program, with funding from the RMS.
Similar strategies are also in place in the ACT, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia.
"When driving a car it’s important to remember we’re in control of around 1200 to 2000 kilograms of metal,” Wayne Gailey said. “When we’re driving at 50 kms/hr that means the car is a large object travelling at 14 metres per second. That’s enough momentum to kill or injure a cyclist in an instant.”
“Keeping at least metre away is a crucial benchmark for drivers.”
Orange City Council’s Cycling Committee chair Steve Martin said while cyclists must also share the responsibility for riding safely on the roads, it’s up to drivers to keep a safe distance.
“Every cyclist can tell of incidents when a car has come too close to be safe,” Steve Martin said. “The NSW Government changed the roads rules in March last year (2016) making it clear that when the speed limit is under 60 km/hr, a car has to stay one metre away when passing a cyclist.”
“When the speed limit is more than 60 km/hour , the required distance is 1.5 metres.”
The NSW Government has provided a range of online resources about the one metre rule.
Drivers caught not allowing the minimum distance when passing a bicycle rider face a $330 fine and a penalty of two demerit points.
Nationally, the ‘A METRE MATTERS’ campaign has been supported by the Amy Gillett FoundationThe Amy Gillett Foundation was established in 2005 following the death of Amy Gillett, killed by a driver in2005 while cycling in Germany with the Australian women’s cycling team.
Orange Buslines Manager Tim Smith said his company welcomed the opportunity to be involved in a campaign to make Orange’s roads safer.
“It’s an important message and we’re pleased to be a part of this campaign,” Tim Smith said. “As our city grows, the number of cars and bikes is also increasing, and that means we need to find ways to share the roads safely and courteously.”