ACT News


Safety inquiry aimed at cyclists

Imposing a legal duty on motorists to display care towards pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists is among the policy options that could be examined by an inquiry into Canberra's ''vulnerable road users''.

Territory and Municipal Services Minister and Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury will call on Thursday for an Assembly committee inquiry into the ACT's approach to the most vulnerable road users.

Last year, four pedestrians, one cyclist and three motorcyclists were killed in ACT motor vehicle accidents.

''Vulnerable road users make up a large proportion of our accident statistics and I wanted to go to a committee approach because I think it gives the committee, over time, an opportunity to really gather some useful information in quite a public way, so it becomes a public discussion as well,'' Mr Rattenbury said.

Issues to be examined could include road user education, transport infrastructure and European-style vulnerable road user legislation, which places a legal onus on motorists to show they have not contributed to an accident involving vulnerable road users.

Mr Rattenbury said he hoped the committee discussed vulnerable road user legislation.


''In some ways, this is a starting point for those sorts of issues: whether it happens in [the] near term or takes a bit longer will go to that issue of whether the community is ready or not,'' he said.

Cycling Promotion Fund government relations manager and former Tour de France rider Stephen Hodge said the inquiry should look at all aspects of how vulnerable road users were treated and at driver education.

''In Europe, there are huge traffic densities and there are a lot less of the problems that we're talking about now,'' Mr Hodge said.

''It's part education, it's a part awareness, it's part everyone understanding that if they don't pass that vulnerable road user within the next 50 metres, it's actually going to make a difference of 12.5 seconds in their trip.''

Mr Rattenbury's move was welcomed by the Amy Gillett Foundation, a charity created to reduce cycling injuries and deaths.

The foundation's chief executive, former international cyclist Tracey Gaudry, said Canberra was well placed to become an ideal city for cyclists and pedestrians.

''Canberra is optimally placed to become the leading cycling and walking city because of its ideal layout, because of a lack of historical transport infrastructure restrictions, because of wide roads, open spaces,'' Ms Gaudry said. ''There's enough room literally for all modes of transport to get along safely.''

Mr Rattenbury said cyclists had the same responsibility as motorists to behave responsibly.


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