The Government is considering a law that would require overtaking drivers to give cyclists up to 1.5 metres of space.
Associate transport minister Craig Foss has asked officials to look at enforcing a buffer zone. They’ll also examine whether trucks should have “side-under run” devices, which prevent pedestrians and cyclists from slipping under wheels.
The proposals were recommended late last year by the Cycling Safety Panel. A dozen cyclists were killed on New Zealand roads in the past two years.
Ten experts on the panel, including Olympic cycling gold medallist Sarah Ulmer suggested a minimum passing distance of 1-metre where speed limits are 60kmh, and 1.5 metres on faster roads.
This is already law – with fines of up to NZ$400 – in Queensland, Australia.
This sounds pretty sensible to me.
The one area where it could be challenging is some of the steep roads around Wellington, where there simply isn’t room to have 1.5 metres space to pass. Most motorists don’t mind slowing down to cyclist speed until it is safe to pass, when the cyclist speed is 25 km/hr. But when the cyclist speed is 5 km/hr, then you can get some large buildups of traffic behind them.