A driver who decided to threaten bicycle riders on a cycleway in Sydney’s Inner West fell afoul of the law and his own employer- not bad work for a Friday afternoon.
Photo: Incident Recorded on Cyclist’s Helmet Camera
As a bicycle rider, all of you would have experienced the close pass. That casual decision by a motorist to get around you unsafely to save 10 seconds in traffic has just driven you to the edge of the flaming abyss. If you’re lucky, it was a brush with death or disability and not the real thing. It’s the stuff of nightmares and a major blow to one’s confidence.
In Joseph’s case, he was riding on Wilson Street, a dedicated cycleway when tailgated by a driver in a utility, abused for simply riding a bicycle then close passed until run off the road. To his horror, the cyclist ahead of Joseph received similar treatment. Despite the trauma, Joseph had the presence of mind to record the incident on his head cam including vehicle rego and the other cyclist’s details.
Photo: Go Together – Sharing the road with bicycle riders Video
Besides using the ute as a threatening weapon, the driver had been recorded repeatedly breaching Minimum Passing Distance Legislation (MPD). MPD law states that the driver of a vehicle must give when overtaking a bike rider on NSW Roads. In areas that are 60km or lower speed limits, vehicles must pass cyclists with at least 1m of distance between their vehicle and the rider. In speed zones over 60km/h, the minimum distance is 1.5m. Initially, the police responded that it was a random road ‘rage incident’ and refused to take witness statements.
MPD BNSW No. 1 Advocacy Pillar
Undeterred and realising an operational knowledge gap about MPD, Joseph approached the NSW Police Commissioner, Bicycle NSW and CATO Location Services- the company logo on the side of the ute.
Because MPD was the number one advocacy pillar for Bicycle NSW in 2016, we are heavily invested in its application and enforcement. So, we also made contact with the Commissioner’s office and the General Manager of CATO.
Photo: CATO Location Services and NSWPF working together for cyclist safety
CATO and NSWPF working together
The Police reaffirmed their commitment to communicating MPD knowledge among specialist bike units and their ongoing relationships with Bicycle User Groups (BUGs). Mick Darda, GM of CATO happened to be a keen cyclist and active member of Bicycle NSW.
‘Many CATO Group employees are cyclists. As one of those, I understand the importance of the Minimum Passing Distance laws and the very real concern that a cyclist can feel when other road users breach this simple rule.’ Mick Darda, GM of CATO. The driver is no longer with the company.
'Although these types of incidents are not uncommon, we were very impressed how NSW Police and CATO responded to this incident after representation was made from Bicycle NSW. Positively, this represents a small cultural change for bicycle rider acceptance which we wouldn't have seen in years past.' Said Peter McLean, CEO at Bicycle NSW.
Click here for information on MPD and what riders can do.