New ‘Go Together’ road safety signs have been installed in Wollongong suburbs to remind motorists of the one-metre rule when driving alongside cyclists.
The monochrome signs appear in Towradgi, Fairy Meadow and Figtree, but they only have temporary status.
The one-metre rule, legalised in 2016, states a motor vehicle travelling in a 60km/h speed zone cannot be within one metre of a cyclist, and that any motor-vehicle travelling in speed limits exceeding 60km/h must be within 1.5m.
In 2014, Wollongong Council introduced the ‘The Wollongong City Bike Plan 2014-2018’, which analysed local data regarding safety and accessibility of cycling, and outlined methods of improvement.
The plan included data collected between 2008-2012 in Illawarra communities, listing Wollongong, Corrimal and Fairy Meadow, collectively, as having 69 cycling-related fatalities within the five-year period. Wollongong CBD and areas around the University of Wollongong were identifies as high-risk areas, due mainly to the inability of those using bicycles to ride safely within traffic.
In the plan, the Council proposed new bike lanes and widened shared paths, along with educational training of cycle safety and riding basics. The plan also identifies Council’s need to support campaigns such as ‘Go Together,’ to promote safe road behaviour.
Safety Cycling Australia is the organisation that originally campaigned for the one-metre rule. David Sharp, the founder of the organisation, encourages Wollongong council to make the signs a permanent fixture. “A lot of it does come down to education and a lot of people may not be aware the law exists,” he said.
Mr Sharp said, in most situations, a lack of education and communication is the downfall of road users both motor-vehicles and cyclists.
“If Wollongong is prepared to get stuck into this, it would be great to see them become a national leader in terms of getting people on bikes,” he said.
The Wollongong City Bike Plan ends as of December year, and the ‘Go Together’ signs are scheduled to be removed early April.