Nov 23, 2009

A metre matters in road safety

A metre matters in road safety

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

November 23 2009

A team of 27 cyclists have set off from Parliament House to ride the 830 kilometres to Melbourne, along the way raising money and awareness for a new road safety campaign being spearheaded by the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Today I joined with the Foundation’s CEO, Tony Fox, Tour de France star, Stephen Hodge, elite cyclists including Amber Halliday, Jessie MacLean and Carla Ryan, and the ‘Riders on the Hill’ Parliamentary Cycling Group to farewell the group, wishing them a safe and successful journey.

The six day ride marks the start of the Amy Gillett Foundation’s ‘A Metre Matters’ campaign which aims to reduce accidents between motorists and cyclists by promoting shared respect amongst all road users.

Airing on television and in cinemas shortly, this public education campaign urges motorists to provide more space on the road for cyclists, particularly when overtaking.

This commonsense message is both important and timely, with around 35 cyclists killed and more than 4,500 seriously injured each year on the nation’s roads.

I plead with motorists to heed the safety message, watch out for cyclists and allow at least a metre of space when overtaking them. Equally, I urge all cyclists to ride smart by wearing protective gear and high visibility clothing as well as using a light at night.

As well as supporting the Foundation’s road safety message, the Rudd Labor Government is partnering with local councils as well as state and territory governments to build more dedicate bike paths. This $80 million investment will provide more Australians with a safer, greener and healthier way of getting to and from school, work or their weekend activities.

There are about 1.9 million recreational cyclists in Australia, with more bikes than cars sold in each of the last six year.

The Amy Gillett Foundation was formed in response to the tragic road crash in Germany in 2005 that took the life of Amy Gillett and seriously injured five other members of the Australian Institute of Sport’s road cycling team.

You can follow the ride by going to: http://canberratomelbourne.tumblr.com/.

Riders for at least part of the journey include Foundation board members Simon Gillett, Duncan Murray, Stephen Hodge and Matt Pringle; a range of business and community leaders; well known cyclists including Matt White, Dave McKenzie and Matt Tilley; cycling great Phil Anderson; and three Amy Gillett Scholarship recipients.