Seeking community input on road safety changes

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A new parliamentary inquiry is looking into changes to road safety rules that are being considered by the Victorian Parliament.

In particular, the inquiry looks at the practical issues that would be involved with implementing the rules if passed.

The Parliament is currently considering a bill that would require drivers to maintain a gap of between 1 metre and 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists. The bill is called: Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (Overtaking Bicycles) Bill 2015.

The Economy and Infrastructure Committee will investigate how that law would work in practice, including the way it should be enforced and the way in which the community should find out about it.

“If this new law goes through Parliament, it’s important to understand how it will work,” said Committee Chair Joshua Morris.

“So we are asking the community to let us know what would be needed to ensure people are informed about and follow the new rules, if introduced.”

The Committee will consider the experience of other Australian states and territories in implementing similar road rules.

“Several other states have already introduced this sort of minimum passing rule or are trialling similar rules,” Mr Morris said. “We can learn from their experience.”

Currently the existing road rules specify that drivers must leave ‘sufficient’ passing distance when overtaking bicycles. But the rules don’t specify what that distance is.

The proposed legislation addresses this by requiring drivers to leave 1 metre when overtaking at a speed of up to 60 km/h and 1.5 metres when overtaking at a speed of more than 60 km/h.

“Our inquiry is not looking into the detail of the bill, but rather into how the measures would be implemented if the bill passes Parliament,” Mr Morris explained.

“In particular we want to hear ideas about the sort of community education campaign that would be needed.”

Submissions to the inquiry are due by 1 April 2016. More details on the inquiry, including how to make a submission, are available from the Committee’s website.

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