A southwest Washington state council could become the first in the state to ban cyclists from a road due to new rules that require motorists to give cyclists a one-meter buffer zone when ‘they exceed.
The laws are designed to keep cyclists safe, but there has been criticism that regional roads are not wide enough for the 1-meter rule, forcing trucks and road trains to leave asphalt and over gravel when ‘they overtake the cyclists.
The laws are part of a two-year trial by the government of WA, which requires motorists to give cyclists 1 meter when exceeding 60 km / h or less and 1.5 meters if the motorist exceeds 60 km / h.
The Dardanup Shire Council is proposing to prevent cyclists from using a narrow section of Harris Road, a busy one-lane road used by trucks.
Dardanup Shire chairman Mick Bennett said overtaking laws did not work on regional roads.
“This one is plain and simple that there is too much traffic on this road.”
WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts said she was concerned about the proposal.
“Bikes, trucks and other vehicles have shared the roads in this state for decades without a problem, and it has always been required that there be a safe passing distance if you pass a cyclist,” she said. declared.
Shire has the legal right to ban cyclists
The council has already approached Main Roads about the legality of the road closure to cyclists.
In a statement, Main Roads said a local government has the power to close a road to vehicles of all classes, including cyclists, if it deems it necessary.
John Hanczakowski, of the South West Cycle Club, said the members had been riding Harris Road for more than 20 years without incident.
“It is generally quieter than other roads and traffic is not a problem,” he said.
Truckers in the area believe the road is too narrow to accommodate the new passing laws.
Southwest Express Transport chief executive Mark Mazza said trucks would be forced to cross double white lines to pass cyclists on Harris Road.
“It effectively keeps oncoming traffic off the road, so it puts more than just the cyclist in danger, it also puts the truck driver himself and oncoming traffic at risk. “
Prohibition difficult to enforce
The proposal is open to public comment, but if it goes forward, the council is aware that it would be difficult to implement.
Cr Bennett said the council would not have rangers on the road.
“We try to be reasonable and practical that if you go out there you take a risk, then we try to eliminate that risk,” he said.