Greens call for one-metre buffer between cars, bike


The battle between Melbourne motorists and bike riders has taken a new turn with a push by the Greens to impose a car no-go zone around all cyclists.

Victoria must do more to protect cyclists and politicians must look at all options to improve road sharing, Premier Daniel Andrews says.
On Wednesday the Greens introduced a bill to the Victorian Parliament to mandate a minimum one-metre buffer zone between cyclists and cars passing them.
Under the plan, drivers and motorcyclists would have to leave at least a one-metre buffer when overtaking cyclists, and 1.5 metres when travelling on a road with a speed limit of more than 60km/h.
Similar laws are being trialled in Queensland. South Australia and the ACT are also set to introduce safe passing rules.
Mr Andrews said that though he had not seen the detail of the Greens' plan, he was prepared to sit down and talk about how to improve safety.
"We have to change this," he said. "We have to have a situation where we do whatever we can to prevent another death, another tragedy."
Last month 25-year-old Alberto Paulon, an Italian chef, was killed on Sydney Road in Brunswick after he was struck by an opening car door and thrown into traffic.
Mr Andrews conceded that the proposal would present difficulties and be hard to enforce.
"We have to have a debate and a discussion, in a respectful way, and find the best way to make sure that we keep all road users safe, and perhaps change [the] culture so that we all understand that we share the roadway and we have to get along much better."
The policy is being driven by the Amy Gillett Foundation.
The RACV, the Coalition and lord mayor Robert Doyle have all dismissed the Greens' bill. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy dismissed the plan, labelling it a typical "thought bubble" from the Greens.
"I'm just not sure how it's going to work," he said. "How would you penalise people in a car for being too close to a bike if the bike pulls up next to the car?"
Cr Doyle says enforcing the buffer would be "physically impossible" in the city.
RACV general manager public policy Brian Negus said the club had safety issues with the bill. 
"RACV encourages motorists to always maintain a safe clearance between their vehicle and bicycle riders, but we do not believe mandating a minimum passing distance of one metre will be effective," he said.
He warned that drivers in some cases would have to change lanes to maintain the buffer zone, and the rules did not take into account cyclists overtaking other riders.