This weekend’s Cadel Evans Road Race along the Great Ocean Road has put the spotlight on cycling safety in the region.
While hundreds of elite cyclists are here for a few days, the Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, said every day is a matter for improving the safety of motorists and cyclists.
“The event promotes the region and its superb tourism attributes, it promotes elite sports events and, more generally, promotes cycling and the benefits of an active life.
“What it also does is highlight the use of our local roads by cyclists every day of the year and the constant need for improving road safety,” Mr Ramsay said.
Mr Ramsay will be among the thousands of people taking part in the People’s Ride on Saturday.
He has been an advocate in the Victorian Parliament for the mandatory fitting of lights on bicycles. He has also promoted the need for high visibility clothing to be worn by cyclists.
“The Metre Matters campaign led by the Amy Gillett Foundation has argued for specific space to be left between vehicles and cyclists.
“This isn’t legislation in Victoria, but the message is an important part of the cycle-safety theme.”
Mr Ramsay said the State Government has a role to play – especially for regional roads where low visibility can be an issue.
“There is a strong argument for building roads that take cyclists into account by providing them more room. This should be done in known areas of high bike use such as the Ballarat and Geelong regions.
“I call on the Andrews Government to also fund more dedicated cycling paths and links to rail trails”.
But Mr Ramsay said the onus is also on cyclists to protect their safety.
“Cycling is not all about lycra and coffee.
“Cyclists must ride responsibly, follow road rules, wear high visibility clothing, have lights and reflectors, be alert to bad weather conditions and respect others’ road rights.”
There is a push to have bikes registered, like other road users, so they also contribute to the costs of road upkeep and improvements, emergency service responses and the TAC.
Mr Ramsay has not taken a position on registration but says it should be part of the discussion towards overall road safety.