Transport minister Shane Ross said yesterday that his department will examine how a minimum passing disstance law — where a distance for motorists overtaking bicycles is defined in law — has worked in the Australian state of Queensland.
Phil Skelton, who started the Stayin Alive at 1.5 campaign said Ross was interested how the law could be enforced in a practical manner.
After meeting the minister today, Skelton said: “His main stance on minimum passing disstance law was one of concern for the enforceability of such a law.”
He added: “I got the opportunity to show him how it works overseas without rigorous enforcement and got a firm undertaking from him and his department that contact would be made with his Queensland equivalent to find out their experiences of this law.”
Much like the drink driving loophole which the minister is trying to close, Minister Ross may have a battle on his hands if he tries to implement a passing distance law, but he is expected to have strong cabinet-level support from at least Minister Ciaran Cannon and Minister Regina Doherty. The meeting today was also arranged by Sligo-based councillor Marie Casserly, who is part of Ross’s Independent Alliance political grouping.
When passing distance law are implemented around the world, 1.5 metres minimum is usually applied to areas of 60km/h and over, and 1 metres applied at 50km/h and under.
Skelton said on Facebook last night: “Bear in mind that Queensland introduced minimum passing disstance law as a 2 year trial and following its success there, this was made in to permanent law there. The law was subsequently added to most states and territories there.”
“There are more steps on the road to what we hope might lead to this life-saving measure for thousands of bicycle riders on Irish roads,” he said.