Bicycle advocacy groups in Brisbane are demanding reforms to heavy vehicle laws and an audit of statewide cycling infrastructure policy to keep riders safe.
The call follows the death last week of a 37-year-old cyclist who was hit by a truck in the inner-northwest suburb of Albion.
The rider was dragged several metres before the truck was able to stop.
“We’re at a crisis point,” Anne Savage from Bicycle Queensland told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“We are tracking 40 per cent above for road fatalities, that’s for pedestrians, passengers, drivers and bike riders.
“How much longer can we continue to accept this before we act?
“We have a right to be on the road, but at some point in Australia we’ve given our roads over to cars.”
Ms Savage said more needed to be done in relation to road laws and infrastructure.
“We’ve written to the State Government to ask for the creation of a road safety and travel commission and an increase in funding,” she said.
“We would like to see a compliance audit on a statewide level with the state cycling infrastructure policy, and we need to see the reform of heavy vehicle laws.”
Narelle Horwath from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland (CARRS-Q) said Australia was behind other parts of the world when it came to safety laws for heavy vehicles.
“In Europe they have strong requirements that ensure heavy vehicles have side underrun and rear underrun,” she said.
“Side underruns prevent cyclists and pedestrians from going underneath the wheels of a heavy vehicle and being killed.
“We should adopt those laws now — they’re a federal government responsibility.”
Action needed at dangerous black spot
Ms Savage said the area of Hudson Road in Albion where the cyclist died last week was known to riders as a problem area.
“This area could be improved immediately to make it easier for drivers to navigate — it’s a black spot and we really need to fix it,” she said.
The one-metre rule is helping drivers and cyclists share the road. (ABC News: James Maasdorp)
“It’s a corridor to industrial areas so you get many heavy vehicles and it’s hard for them to negotiate a turn there as it’s a 90-degree corner.”
The first stage of the North Brisbane Bikeway was built in the area in 2016, connecting the suburb of Windsor to the city.
Sections 2 and 3 are funded half by Brisbane City Council and half by the State Government.
Minister for Transport Mark Bailey said construction on stages 2 and 3 would begin next year.
“This will give a largely protected run to the CBD from the north through that spaghetti junction there,” he said.
“Section 4 is fully funded by the State Government and section 5 is fully funded by council.
“Hudson Road is a council road, and when we do upgrades on roads in the future, whether state, local or federal, they should be fitted with cycle holding patterns.”
Education and calmness necessary for safer roads
Callers to ABC Radio Brisbane had mixed views on rider safety.
“I think education is the key issue which we need to address. I’m from Switzerland and every child had to do a course before going on the road.” — Edith from Inala
“Cyclists are people, we are people that ride bikes. We all have to obey the rules and realise that there’s many different ages riding bikes.” — Ian from The Gap
“The man who died recently is a friend of mine and I think people need to slow down and be considerate on the road. Everyone has tunnel vision and they tailgate, slam their brakes on, and I think we need to chill out and slow down.” — Nick from the Gold Coast
“If you’re a truck driver and you have to make deliveries, I think it’s unfair that people having a social cycle get in the way and add an extra hour or two a day to the truck drivers trying to earn a living and get their job done.” — Andrew from Maleny
Could stronger enforcement of one-metre rule help?
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart told ABC Radio Brisbane the one-metre rule was a complex area of the law for both cyclists and drivers.
Motorists must stay wider of bicycle riders by giving a minimum of one metre when overtaking them in a 60kph, or 1.5 metres when the speed limit is over 60kph.
“It’s been brought in to provide a consequence but it’s very difficult to enforce,” Mr Stewart said.
“I’m not saying that the law is a failure, as I see every day where people give way to bicycle users and that education has been a bonus for bicycle riders.”