A new Transport Accident Commission campaign is calling on drivers to ensure the safety of cyclists on the road by slowing down and allowing enough space when passing.
The campaign urges drivers to ‘‘give the space to ride safe’’, recommending at least a 1m safety zone when passing cyclists in speed zones up to 60km/h, and at least 1.5m at higher speeds.
‘‘This public education campaign is designed to help drivers of cars and heavy vehicles to understand the minimum space to leave when passing a person riding a push bike,’’ TAC road safety lead director Samantha Cockfield said.
‘‘The vast majority of drivers do willingly give space when they pass a cyclist, but people can be unsure of the guidelines on just how much distance they should leave between their vehicle and a rider.
‘‘It is also important that motorists slow down when passing someone on a bike, while it’s equally important that riders ensure they are highly visible, predictable and wearing good protective gear.’’
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.
‘‘Our bodies are simply not designed to survive the impact speeds of common crash scenarios and this is even truer for riders, who are far more vulnerable as they don’t have the benefit of a car cabin, or safety features like airbags,’’ Ms Cockfield said.
‘‘No-one deserves to die or be seriously injured on our roads and we all have a role to play in creating a road environment where all road users can travel safely every day.’’