Stay wider of the rider – sign the petition

We’ve discussed in the past the potential for a rule specifying a minimum space for motorists when passing a bike rider (and all the myths surrounding such a law…). Now it looks more likely that the new Government may propose such a law and CAN, the Cycling Action Network, is seeking support for such a move. Their “Give Me Room” campaign is designed to raise awareness of the idea, as well as getting people to sign a petition for the Rule change.

For most people who bike, it doesn’t take long to come up with examples of motorists passing too closely, in some cases quite shocking examples. What is often disheartening is the response from Police who will often not take any action unless a rider has actually been hit, which seems a pretty high bar when the existing legislation in theory already prevents passing not “made safely and with due consideration of others”.

OK, that is ridiculously close (click the image for the full video)

A safe-passing rule like this is already very common in various states of Australia and the US, as well as some European countries. In NZ, we are likely to follow Australian practice, which is typically at least 1.0m gap in urban areas and 1.5m on rural roads. Already there has been NZTA research completed on the topic. To help show support for getting it in NZ, CAN is asking people to sign their petition, which asks the Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter (in charge of rules and road safety) to make it happen. The aim is to get at least 2000 signatures (over halfway there!) – more would be fantastic…

That's right, use the other lane to pass (c/ UK Road Cycling Laws)
Behaviour like this should be standard in NZ (c/ UK Road Cycling Laws)

Do you support a safe-passing rule? Sign the petition!

7 thoughts on “Stay wider of the rider – sign the petition”

  1. Yes I do support this rule of a safe passing rule in New Zealand and I would also like to know that the visitors from overseas are having this new law explained to them before they can hire a car.

  2. Interesting statement by police about that video “As I have stated repeatedly, unless you are knocked off your bicycle and therefore the victim of a true collision,this type of complaint will simply continue to be filed.” Would a 100kph vehicle head on near miss receive the same no injury no problem reply?

  3. No I don,t support cyclists being one meter from curb and cars having to cross over to other lane to pass as in your photo. I am a cyclist and have been for over 40 yrs, you should be heading to schools to teach safe riding and the ministry to teach safe driving. Instead millions is being spent on putting car against cycle. what gives.

    1. Cyclists are advised to ride at least a meter from the edge of the road to increase their visibility, putting them in the line of sight of drivers behind them, and drivers pulling out of side roads, it also means they can, more often, avoid hazards such as drains and debris without having to swerve right as often as when cycling in the gutter.
      Nobody is saying drivers must pass cyclists in the face of oncoming traffic, or near blind brows and bends. As with passing a slow car, only pass when it is safe.

      1. As a former resident of Christchurch who has recently returned after living abroad for nearly a decade, it is refreshing to see the cycle lanes marked to clearly define the clear way between bicycles and motor cars or any other motor bearing road worthy vehicle. Alas after residing here again for less than 2 months I see the standard of driving here has deteriorated some what. Motorists seem very impatient. However it’s lovely to be back in Christchurch.

  4. The best lesson I learned about passing bikes in the car is to treat a bike the way you would treat a tractor on the road – you wait behind it until it’s safe to pass. It’s a simple message that needs to be shared more widely. I think a lot of people are so used to being able to just pass bikes on wide urban streets that they somehow just assume they can in all situations. A simple message of “just be prepared to stop,” with a reminder that it will only take a few seconds, would be powerful. I used to get really nervous coming up behind bikes on narrow roads, because I was somehow thinking I had to pass, for some reason. Now I assume I can’t pass and slow down until I know I can and it’s much easier, and safer. A short video saying that – and another saying that bikes are going faster than you think when turning left in front of them – would go a long way toward defusing many car-bike issues.

  5. Given Julie Anne Genter was happy with the response from Craig Cooney in the example you show (My video of FDT287 hitting my foot and pushing me to the side as he passed), I don’t see a good result coming from her. She has claimed to have no recollection of this, even after I resent the email to her!
    Craig Cooney is not alone in refusing to charge drivers for the offence of “Unsafe Passing” and “Unsafe Lane Change” the dangerous attitude from Police to cyclist safety is very widespread, expecting a good result from Julie Anne Genter is laughable in my experience.
    What is needed is a Private Prosecution against a driver passing too close, where police have refused to charge to driver, this was the plan put to me by the Green Party, and what should have happened when I provided them with this case. Julie Anne Genter however failed all cyclists in NZ when she allowed the case to go unchallenged! Good luck with your campaign, but please do not rely on people that aren’t worthy of your trust!

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