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TitleAn evaluation of the effectiveness of a minimum passing distance rule in the Australian Capital Territory
AuthorsPonte G, Dutschke JK, Mackenzie JRR, Mongiardini M
AbstractA minimum passing distance (MPD) rule was introduced in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) as part of the two-year “Safer Cycling Reforms” trial commencing November 2015. The MPD rule requires drivers of vehicles to overtake cyclists with at least one metre on roads zoned 60 km/h and below and one and a half metres on roads zoned above 60 km/h. To evaluate the effectiveness of the MPD rule in the ACT, crash data, enforcement data and data collected using specialised passing distance measurement devices (PDMDs) in-stalled on a sample of cyclists who ride in the ACT, were examined.

Analysis of vehicle collisions with bicycles before and during the MPD trial found a reduc-tion of five crashes during the two-year trial period compared to the same period prior the trial (non-statistically significant) and no increased crash risk for other road users. However, there was also a 26% increase in cycling participation over the trial period in the ACT compared to the period prior [1,2] with only a minor increase in vehicle registra-tions (4.3% [3,4]), suggesting that the crash risk per cyclist kilometres travelled (CKT) may have reduced, potentially, as a result of the safer cycling reforms. Only 11 infringements of the MPD rule were recorded by police over the trial period [5].

The passing distance data collected by cyclists using the PDMDs for a one-month period in the ACT during the MPD trial period allowed identification of passing events and close passing events for the cyclists in the study. Non-compliance with the MPD rule on roads zoned 60 km/h or less and roads zoned greater than 60 km/h were deduced and varied by road classification. Mean passing distances were also determined and all results will be presented, pending the public release of the study findings funded by the ACT Road Safety Fund.

Conference Name8th Annual International Cycling Safety Conference
Conference AbbreviationISCS 2019
Conference LocationBrisbane, Australia
Conference Date18-20 November 2019

Ponte G, Dutschke JK, Mackenzie JRR, Mongiardini M (2019). An evaluation of the effectiveness of a minimum passing distance rule in the Australian Capital Territory. 8th Annual International Cycling Safety Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 18-20 November 2019. [PRESENTED ABSTRACT]