Should the law on passing cyclists be changed?

This week, Michael O’Reilly, in his deservedly popular SMH bike blog, posted about a recent court case, where a young truck driver was acquitted of a charge of dangerous driving causing death due to passing the rider too closely, presumably knocking him off his bike and killing him, a terrible tragedy indeed. This has sparked debate about whether the one metre passing recommendation, which is not part of our legislation, should be made so.

I have written before about being deliberately passed too closely by a van. It is a scary experience and when it is done deliberately and followed up by abuse from the offending party, moreso. And presumably the van driver in this case was not breaking any law in doing this.

Whether it is made legislation or not, it will be the enforcement that will make the difference to the safety of cyclists. The above case involving the fatality was taken to court and the driver was let off on the grounds of his belief that he would not hit the bike rider, even though most of the evidence indicates that he did hit him. There are other cases of car doorings not being prosecuted, and this is a clear cut case of the driver breaking the law. Until these laws are enforced, bike riders will continue to be second class citizens on the roads, unprotected by law, regardless of what that law says.

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4 Responses to Should the law on passing cyclists be changed?

  1. anniebikes says:

    Early season cautious drivers, once giving me oodles of clearance, now pass without a care, squeezing by with less than ideal clearance..I take the lane, but still they pass and nearly drive an oncoming automobile onto the shoulder or create road rage, as the “squeezed” automobile beeps their horn. Gee whiz!

    • Vicki says:

      I’ve noticed that drivers’ habits change with the seasons and that spring seems to be the worst time for silly behaviours, that is why Dottie from LGRAB calls it jerk season.

  2. Steve A says:

    Hitting a cyclist while passing is clearly not a “safe” or “reasonable” distance.

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