The Queensland Government should seize the chance to lead the nation with a range of strong new laws to protect cyclists, say campaigners who want to prevent injuries on the roads.
Commenting on the 68 recommendations made by a Qld Parliamentary Inquiry,
law firm Maurice Blackburn, Safe Cycling Australia (Qld) and Synapse, the Brain Injury Association in QLD, welcomed the recommendations, but warned against watering down laws about helmets.
Andrew McKenzie, Maurice Blackburn principal and road safety advocate, said many of the recommendations, if adopted by the Newman Government, had the potential to save lives and cut injury rates.
The report "A New Direction for Cycling in QLD" by the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee was tabled in the QLD Parliament today.
"We support the majority of the recommendations to protect cyclists, in particular the mandatory safe passing distances and on-the-spot fines for 'dooring'.
"However, we are concerned about relaxing helmet laws which could send the wrong message about helmet use.
"One of Queensland's leading neurosurgeons Dr Scott Campbell agrees that relaxing helmet laws is crazy. Put simply - wearing helmets saves lives.
"We will watch with interest and carefully scrutinise every aspect of these proposed changes including the relaxing of the current mandatory helmet law. We urge the Newman government to act responsibly as international road safety ambassadors," said Mr McKenzie.
Safe Cycling Australia's Dave Sharp added that the report is a win for Queensland cyclists.
"Our campaigns in partnership with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, the Amy Gillett Foundation and many other have helped to ensure a safer cycling future.
"SCA owes a sincere debt of gratitude to Queensland's cycling community for the overwhelming support to all of us in our efforts to achieve meaningful change. In particular we would like to thank the Pollett family for their tireless campaigning after the death of their son Richard, a musician who died in 2011 after being hit by a truck in Brisbane," said Mr Sharp.
Glen Farlow, national development manager for Synapse said cyclists were particularly vulnerable to brain injury: "I have heard comments about the report already from experienced riders not wearing helmets and never having an accident. Through my work at Synapse, I also hear every day from people with a permanent brain injury who never thought it would happen to them. It only takes a split second for a life-changing accident to occur; anything we can do as a community to prevent these injuries should be a priority."