So You Think You Should be Premier of Victoria

By Heath Ryan

An open letter to Mr Matthew Guy MP, Victorian State Member for Bulleen, and Leader of the Liberal Party of Victoria:

  1. If you become Premier of Victoria on November 24, will you, in your first 100 days in office, re-introduce and pass the MPD (Minimum Passing Distance) legislation that was passed in the Upper House in May 2017 with the support of Liberal senators?
  2. If you become Premier of Victoria on November 24, will you introduce Driver Insurance to replace the failing TAC compulsory third party scheme that keeps dangerous drivers on public roads? Driver Insurance is already the gold standard in most OECD countries in Europe and North America, as it requires no public funding while holding drivers accountable for their behaviour, allowing premiums for inattentive, selfish and aggressive drivers to
    increase, and ultimately getting bad drivers off the road as their dangerous actions make them uninsurable.

PainterVSE2018

Dear Mr Guy,

From the Liberal Victoria video “Interview with Matthew Guy” that your party published online on 30 October 2018, you reminisce:

My dad loved trains. My dad used to ride his bike from Brighton to Caulfield to see the brand-new diesel trains in the 1950s.

Matthew Guy, in the 1950s it is unlikely your dad was a victim of excessive speed, hoon drivers, road rage, ice-addicted drivers or deliberately close ‘punishment passes’ by motorists when he rode his bike.

Fortunately, Victoria’s current road rules are excellent – with one major exception. The wording of the rules does not specify what constitutes a safe distance when motorist pass cyclists. Victoria is the only state in Australia that has refused to mandate 1 metre as a safe passing distance on roads up to 60 km/h and 1.5 metres on roads with speed limits above 60 km/h. So, as the leader of a party that wants to be elected to govern Victoria on November 24 for all Victorians, and a party that is campaigning on a law and order and public safety platform, will a Guy Government immediately pass MPD legislation and then introduce and work for the passing of Driver Insurance legislation in Victoria if elected?

In the video interview, you continue:

I loved my childhood. It was very Australian, you know. We grew up in the street playing cricket. We played games with the other kids, whether it was footy, whether it was bike riding. We rode our bikes a lot. And it’s the kind of Australia I look back romantically [at] and think: ‘I just hope my kids have the same view of their childhood.’ It’s the kind of Australia we want our children to have. 

Then, near the end of your interview you speak about work-life balance:

I entered politics with my eyes open. But it is difficult, and it can be difficult. My boys are young and they want their father around.

My daughter also wants her father around. But her concerns centre on the fear of her father being killed by a motor vehicle driver who chooses to be reckless and drive dangerously, who has little regard for human life, and who should not be on the road.

So, Mr Guy, if the answer to these two questions are not ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, then you are not the person I want in charge of the state in which my daughter lives.

An Australia where we can reasonably expect to be safe on public roads, that’s the kind of Australia I want my child to have.

Sincerely,
Heath Ryan

On behalf of the Australian Cycle Alliance inc

RidingCityVSE2018

 

So You Think You Deserve to be Re-elected Premier of Victoria?

By Heath Ryan

An open letter to the Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Victorian State Member for Mulgrave, Premier of Victoria and Leader of the Labor Party of Victoria:

  1. If you are re-elected Premier of Victoria on November 24, will you, in your first 100 days in office, re-introduce and pass the MPD (Minimum Passing Distance) legislation that your government voted down in May 2017, even though it promised improved safety for vulnerable road users in Victoria and even though it had already been passed in the Victorian Upper House primarily by the Opposition?
  2. If you are re-elected Premier of Victoria on November 24, will you introduce Driver Insurance to replace the failing TAC compulsory third party scheme that keeps dangerous drivers on public roads? Driver Insurance is already the gold standard in most OECD countries in Europe and North America, as it requires no public funding while holding drivers accountable for their behaviour, allowing premiums for inattentive, selfish and aggressive drivers to increase, and ultimately getting bad drivers off the road as their dangerous actions make them uninsurable.

CommuterVSE2018

Dear Mr Andrews, 

You are asking Victorians to re-elect you as Premier of Victoria on November 24. You are asking Victorian voters to trust you to ‘deliver for all Victorians’.

But 45% of Victorian households have a bicycle, and 36% of Victorians ride a bike at least once a year.

So, why do you hesitate to take firm non-partisan action to protect vulnerable road users?

Why did your Government vote down the MPD legislation in May 2017 that had already passed the Victorian Upper House after the Greens introduced it? Did you prioritise the political interests of the Labor Party ahead of the safety of students who ride to school, bicycle commuters, mixed-mode commuters, bicycle couriers, recreational cyclists and other vulnerable road users?

Are you afraid of a voter backlash if you are seen to ‘deliver’ for students and university students who ride bicycles, or commuters who choose to reduce congestion on our roads by cycling to work, or active Victorians who chose to stay fit and reduce the strain on our public health system by riding a bicycle, or tourists who want to ride a bike while spending money visiting and loving “every part of Victoria”?

Are you afraid that hoon drivers, unlicensed drivers, ice-addicted drivers and unregistered drivers will not vote for you if you ‘deliver’ for Victorians other than them?

At the last election in 2014, you promised to deliver on new infrastructure projects for safer cycling and walking, but that did not happen anywhere near the extent that you promised. Your media release dated 17 November 2014 was entitled “Labor to Make Cycling and Walking Safer For All”.

The link on your website (https://www.viclabor.com.au/media-releases/labor-to-make-cycling-and-walking-safer-for-allwalking-safer-for-all), however, has now been removed. Is that because you failed to deliver on your 2014 promises and you want to hide those broken promises from voters in 2018?

You have had a full four years to deliver what you promised. Why did you break your promise? Was it because your promise to deliver improved cycling infrastructure four years ago not a ‘core promise’? How can you be trusted to deliver on your promises now? 

More recently, your Government removed 29 level crossing. Thank you. As part of this, your Government built a 17.5-km bicycle trail beneath the new elevated ‘sky rail’ from Yarraman Station to Caulfield Station. For the opening of this new safe and cycle-friendly infrastructure, a community bike ride was organised. The event was very successful – even ambulance paramedics joined the event on their bicycles.

Final touches to the bike trail were being done right up to the moment I set off with 200 other bicycle riders on the morning of Saturday, October 27. This clearly would have involved delivering overtime and penalty rates for the many workers we saw. New top soil/grass seed had also been delivered and put in place, and in some places the first shoots were already starting to show. But, just in case the media took pictures of you at this event, Mr Andrews, biodegradable green dye was added to the seed/top soil mixture so that it would look greener in any photos that went to the media in the lead up to the November 24 election. 

However, you were not there. And neither was any member of your Government. Or any Government representative at all.

Why, My Andrews? Were you afraid of something? Were you afraid of being seen on or near a bicycle?

If you were not able to attend, why didn’t you send the local member for Dandenong District, Gabrielle Williams, to open this fantastic new piece of bicycle-friendly State-funded infrastructure? 

The new bike trail goes through her electorate, she is a member of the ALP, and she is was the Parliamentary Secretary for Health.

Or, if she wasn’t able to attend, why didn’t you send the local member for Oakleigh District, Steve Dimopoulos? The new bike trail goes through his electorate too, and he is also a member of the ALP. 

Or, if neither of them was able to attend, why didn’t you send the local member for Mulgrave District, as the bike trail goes through that electorate too? Hang on! You are the local member for Mulgrave, Mr Andrews. But it seems you didn’t want to be photographed in front of fake green grass anywhere near a bicycle.

Where were you? Instead you opted to attend the opening of a bridge that wasn’t ready and still isn’t truly open.

What a missed opportunity to show how you are delivering for all Victorians.

Mr Andrews, since the last State election in Victoria, your Government has failed to deliver on its promised funding level for new cycling infrastructure. Your government also voted down a non-partisan piece of legislation – currently in force across the rest of Australia – that had already been approved in the Upper House and that would have delivered significantly improved safety on Victorian roads for vulnerable road users.

So, Mr Andrews, if you get a second chance to show you are genuine in your promise to deliver for all Victorians, will you answer ‘yes’ to the two questions

CCT VSE2018

It’s amazing the cyclists one sees on the road in Melbourne nine days out from a state election.

RobAndJulesVSE2018

Today is also the day an inquiry was announced in Queensland to examine the enforcement of Queensland’s minimum passing distance law that is designed to prevent the deaths of cyclists riding on public roads. This was sparked by a posthumous ‘open letter’ from Cameron Frewer.

So, the Australian Cycle Alliance inc (Cycle) asked Heath Ryan to pen open letters to both the Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Victorian Premier, and to Mr Matthew Guy MP, Victorian Opposition Leader, asking each of them two questions:

  1. Will you immediately re-introduce and pass Minimum Passing Distance (MPD) legislation?
  2. Will you introduce Driver Insurance to replace the failing TAC compulsory third party scheme that keeps dangerous drivers on public roads?

The wording of current Victorian Road Rule 144A does not specify what constitutes a safe distance when motorist pass cyclists. And, embarrassingly, Victoria is the only state in Australia that has failed to mandate 1 metre as a safe passing distance on roads up to 60 km/h and 1.5 metres on roads with speed limits above 60 km/h.

Driver Insurance requires no public funding while holding drivers accountable for their behaviour, allowing premiums for inattentive, selfish and aggressive drivers to increase, and ultimately getting bad drivers off the road as their dangerous actions make them uninsurable.

The passage of these two pieces of legislation will cost the State of Victoria next to nothing, will reduce the cost of insurance for safe drivers, and will reduce the cost of vehicle registration for all Victorians. But more importantly, a price cannot be put on the value of the lives these two pieces of legislation will save.

Read our letters here:

Which party leader will be the first to say ‘yes’ to both questions?

Vote1BikesVSE2018