Police enforcement of cycling safety laws referred to ethical standards

March 14th, 2019

Truck and bicycle wheel close range photo - Video still.
One in four drivers on high speed roads are not leaving enough distance when overtaking cyclists.

The Ethical Standards Command of the Queensland Police Service has been asked to review a series of allegations concerning the handling of safe passing laws in Queensland, following a referral by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The action follows a letter sent by Bicycle Queensland to the Queensland Police Minister, highlighting a number of historical and ongoing issues with alleged failures by the police to enforce the State’s cycling safety laws.

Bicycle Queensland’s letter was referred by the Police Minister to the CCC.

The CEO of Bicycle Queensland, Anne Savage, said a review was urgently needed to prevent deaths and serious injuries on Queensland roads.

“We welcome referral of this matter by the Crime and Corruption Commission to Ethical Standards Command.

“Research has found that nearly one in four drivers who overtake cyclists on higher speed roads are breaking the law and passing too close, with an overall non-compliance rate of about 16 per cent.

“Side-swipe collisions between cyclists and drivers account for 14 per cent of all fatal bike crashes in Australia, and motorists are at fault in the majority of these, with passing too closely the most common incident type, accounting for about 41 per cent of all collisions.

“Many crashes between cars and bikes happen when both vehicles are travelling in the same direction and often involve rear-end and side-swipe collisions.

“We need to see much stronger enforcement of safe passing laws by the Queensland Police Service in order to stop this from happening.

“The laws exist to help discourage dangerous driving and driver distraction and are vital to the safety of cyclists on our roads.

“All of us deserve to get home alive.”

Bicycle Queensland’s call for a crackdown on safe passing laws comes on top of the organisation’s ongoing demand for a Road Safety Commission in Queensland.

“Last year alone, 247 Queenslanders died on our roads. Many of these deaths were the result of distraction, speeding, drink driving, or drug use. All of these deaths were tragedies that could have been avoided,” Ms Savage said.

“Every life lost or limited through road trauma is a preventable tragedy. We must find new ways of approaching road safety, bringing different authorities and experts to one table under the guidance of a permanent Commission, to realise the goal of zero deaths on our roads.

“A Commission would enable greater coordination of efforts to combat tragedies on our roads through innovation and engagement – bringing together key players to share knowledge and find solutions.

“Importantly, it would drive a wholly collaborative approach across the public, private, and community sectors, harnessing existing knowledge to deliver improved road safety outcomes for all Queenslanders.

“All deaths and injuries on Queensland roads are avoidable – we must do more to ensure that nobody in our community has to suffer the unbearable grief and impairment caused by road crashes,” she said.

The QPS has also recently developed an Action Plan on safe passing laws, which will include a review of all close pass complaints made to the police over the last twelve months.


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