A “State of Emergency” for Victorian bicycle riders.
The Honourable Daniel Andrews MP- Premier of Victoria
The Honourable Luke Donnellan MP - Minister for Roads and Road Safety
The Honourable Lisa Neville MP - Minister for Police
The Honourable Ryan Smith - Shadow Minister for Roads and Infrastructure
Samantha Dunn - Greens Spokesperson for Roads and Road Safety
Senator Janet Rice - Federal Greens Spokesperson for Transport and Infrastructure
Dear Premier Andrews,
The Australian Cycle Alliance is alarmed at the recent spate of deaths of bicycle riders on the roads in Victoria.
In fact, we believe it is a State of Emergency for Victoria.
There have been four rider fatalities in the four weeks between 10 March and 14 April 2017:
1) Ms Arzu Baglar, mother of two young children, killed by a turning truck while she was waiting patiently at a set of traffic lights. A proper separated cycle way would have prevented the truck from turning too sharply and killing Arzu.
2) Jimmy Freeman, March 24th 2017, killed after being struck by a car from behind on a quiet country road with clear visibility while riding with a friend near Benalla. A memorial ride was held for him and Mike Hall who died from behind in the ACT and was killed exactly one week later on the 2nd of April.
3) Name not released, Rider from Ocean Grove died on his bike near Port Arlington on 4th April, although this crash was a single vehicle crash, it is still tragic.
4) Senior Sergeant Ken Rich, struck by a car's wing mirror which passed too close to him on the 14th of April. The 1/1.5 metre minimum passing distance law would potentially have saved Ken's life.
Those four individual Victorians were killed within 35 days of each other, averaging just 8.75 days apart.
This is a much higher rate than at any other time in our recent history. The average number bicycle rider fatalities in Victoria over the last decade has averaged 9.1 per annum, about 40 days between fatalities. In 2015 there were just four fatalities in the whole year.
We don't want to see a single life lost on the roads in Victoria, but right now these deaths are on an unprecedented scale.
We urge you to act quickly and decisively to:
- Budget for, and deliver, a comprehensive network of separated, safe cycleways that can be accessed by riders of all ages and abilities throughout Melbourne and other cities such as Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
- Address known, and potentially dangerous, intersections and roads to ensure the safety of bicycle riders and pedestrians.
- Introduce the 1/1.5 metre passing distance legislation, to bring Victoria into line with the rest of Australia.
- Undertake a wide-ranging education campaign to the whole community to encourage safe driving. Learner driver training must include a compulsory section on pedestrians and bicycle riders (as per the ACT). Introduce a compulsory online quiz for driver license renewals which includes questions about road rule changes, and behaviour around vulnerable road users.
- Ensure the enforcement of safe driving around vulnerable road users - for example in West Midland, England, plainclothes police officers ride bicycles with accurate measuring devices, and fine any drivers who broach the 1 metre passing distance. This has been a highly successful and cost effective campaign that has resulted in halving the number of car/bike crashes within 6 months. The program is now being rolled out in London.
It is well known that Motorists are responsible for crashes between cyclists and drivers in 79% of all cases (http://casr.adelaide.edu.au/publications/list/?id=1346 - University of Adelaide study 2012).
Premier Andrews, we urge you to take immediate action to prevent the loss of any more lives in Victoria.
We work closely with other bicycle groups in Victoria and nationally, and would be happy to work with you to address this important issue.
About the Australian Cycle Alliance
The Australian Cycle Alliance (‘Cycle’) is a not-for-profit organisation that creates and shares social media content about everyday cycling in Australia. We provide content, moderation and commentary with the aim of ensuring that media coverage across the nation is fair and balanced, and represents the interests of the whole community.
We represent a broad and diverse range of people who ride bicycles, whether they are young, old, women, kids, wearing lycra, in business attire, or riding to the local shops in bare feet.
Cycle works with a wide range of organisations at national, state and local level, including governments, businesses, communities and individuals.
There are 3.6 million Australians who ride a bicycle at least once a week. Eight million Australians ride at least once a year. We want to encourage more people to ride, and to benefit from the joy of riding for fitness, fun and transport.
CYCLE’s core guiding principles
Our umbrella principle is #EIE; Education - Infrastructure - Enforcement
- To ensure that media coverage about cycling and bicycle riders is fair and balanced.
- To share and create media content about everyday cycling in Australia.
- To represent a broad and diverse range of people who ride bicycles for fitness, fun and transport.
- To engage and work positively with other organisations at national, state and local level to:
- facilitate better planning and building of safe cycling networks
- remove barriers and impediments to participation
- educate the community about important cycling-related issues
- provide resources, support and information
- reach the broader community.
- To foster an environment that encourages and enables people to ride their bikes wherever they live, whatever they ride, and whatever their ability.