Give consideration to all our road users

It doesn’t matter whether you drive a car, bus or truck, or whether you are riding a bicycle or crossing the road as a pedestrian, everyone needs to be considerate when on our roads.

Consideration is especially needed for the many people who use their bicycles as a mode of transport to and from work or school or as a recreational/exercise purpose.

These cyclists are some of the most vulnerable on our roads. Apart from their helmets, they are essentially unprotected. They don’t have airbags or the safety of being surrounded by a tonne of steel, like those driving a car.

They are sometimes not readily visible in rear or side mirrors of a motor vehicle and can be in danger from turning or merging traffic.

So a new Transport Accident Commission campaigned launched on Sunday calling on Victorian drivers to ensure the safety of cyclists on the roads can only be described as a welcomed relief for those who use pedal power to get around.

The campaign urges drivers to ‘give the space to ride safe’, recommending at least a one-metre safety zone when passing cyclists in speed zones up to 60km/h, and at least 1.5 metres at higher speeds.

Pivotal to the new TAC campaign is a television advertisement depicting three scenarios where cyclists are being passed by vehicles in different road environments. The ad provides visual cues to show a safe passing distance, with each rider spreading their arms between the end of their bike’s handlebars and the passing vehicle’s side mirror. 

While most drivers willingly give space when passing a cyclist, there are others who are unsure of the new guidelines. Unfortunately, there are also others who just don’t seem to give a damn about the safety of cyclists on our roads.

Cyclists are 34 times more likely to be seriously injured than vehicle occupants, and 4.5 times more likely to be killed in a crash, according to TAC figures. Last year, eight cyclists died in crashes on Victorian roads while 421 riders were hospitalised with injuries.

All motorists need to put themselves in the shoes of the cyclists. How vulnerable would you feel if you didn’t have the protection of a large vehicle around you or airbags to protect you? Cyclists have just as much right to use our roads as those driving a car, truck or bus. So think about their safety the next time you get behind a wheel.