Give me room - a campaign for a safe passing rule

Give me room - a campaign for a safe passing rule
Introduce a safe passing rule, to protect people on bikes.
A safe passing rule was recommended by the NZ Cycle Safety Panel in 2014. Safe passing rules are common in Europe, the US, and most Australian states. They also protect people on foot, law enforcement and road workers.
Why are we waiting?

Take action
Sign the petition to Associate Transport Minister, Julie Anne Genter. Give me room - a campaign for a safe passing rule

Why is this important?

Close passing is intimidating, dangerous and in the worst cases life threatening for people on bikes.
The NZ Road Code recommends 1.5m: “Give cyclists plenty of room when passing them. Ideally, allow at least 1.5 metres between you and the cyclist”, but this lacks the force of law.
Close passing is one of the top concerns mentioned by people who responded to the CAN survey in February.

Mythbusting: What a Safe Passing Rule Means

So what is this 1.5m Rule all about?

Firstly to clarify, it’s not a blanket 1.5m rule. The proposed rule is that, as a motorist, you will be required to give at least 1.5m clear space to a bike when passing them on a road with a 70km/h or higher speed limit, and a 1.0m minimum gap for speed limits 60km/h and below. In principle, that distance would be measured from the outer edge of the bike handlebars or rider’s body.

So what’s the reasoning behind the rule?

Safety, both actual crash safety data and perceived safety of riders, is the main reason. A lot of cycle crashes, particularly in rural areas, involve motorists not passing riders with sufficient space or trying to squeeze past with oncoming traffic (often there is a misjudgement about how fast a rider is actually travelling). Most rural cycle fatalities for example are on roads with little or no shoulder. And for many people who would like to ride a bike, they are put off by motorists passing them too closely, particularly when at speed.

1.5m seems like a lot though

Try standing on the side of a road while a large truck thunders past you closely at 100km/h. As well as the noise, the air displacement and vibration can be very unsettling and potentially enough to knock over a rider (or at least affect their balance and riding direction). 1.5m provides a safe margin for error in case the rider does encounter problems, whilst also reducing the chances of that happening in the first place.

More at Cycling in Christchurch   credit -


Cabinet Paper, April 2018

Enhancing the safety of vulnerable users and the accessibility of pathways
67. I also propose to progress work on a regulatory package to enhance the safety of vulnerable
road users and improve the accessibility of pathways. This work will take into account the
needs of different groups of vulnerable users such as people walking and cycling, older
people, people with disabilities and young children. It will also enhance the liveability and
vibrancy of New Zealand cities and towns through better designed and regulated pathways,
which will reduce barriers to active transport.
68. The current rules that regulate who can use pathways are complex, prescriptive and
inconsistent. The Vulnerable Users and Pathways package will explore options for clarifying
the rules around what types of vehicles should be allowed on footpaths, shared paths and
cycleways, and under what conditions. I propose to investigate:
68.1. Bus egress - giving buses priority when they pull out from bus stops.
68.2. Road user rules to improve safety for people walking and cycling, older people, people
with disabilities and young children, such as:
68.2.1. allowing people cycling to overtake slow-moving traffic on the left (also known
as “undertaking”);
68.2.2. enabling people cycling to legally travel straight ahead from left-turning lanes
instead of having to cycle in a narrow adjacent lane where other traffic may be

68.2.3. clarifying the ‘give way’ rules for separated cycle lanes at intersections –
currently it is unclear whether turning motor vehicles or straight ahead cycle
lane users have priority;
68.2.4. allowing people using footpaths, shared paths or cycleways to have right-ofway
over vehicles entering a street via a crossing side road. This would be in
specified circumstances and marked with paint or other signage;
68.2.5. removing a regulatory anomaly around mobility tricycles; and
68.2.6. allowing people to cycle on footpaths in limited circumstances.
68.3. Whether definitions, such as the definition of a “roadway/pathway” and the definition of
“all-terrain vehicle” (ATV) need to be clarified.
69. If implemented, aspects of this package would address the recommendation of the Transport
and Industrial Relations Committee’s inquiry into the future of New Zealand’s mobility, relating
to adopting best-practice cycle facility design standards.
70. Broad consultation on proposed changes to rules impacting vulnerable users will be
undertaken with groups representing vulnerable users and the public. I expect to seek
Cabinet’s approval for policy decisions on these matters by the middle of 2018 and to
promulgate land transport rules to implement them by the end of 2018.

A Wellington cyclist's near-miss with a Massey University van has highlighted a cycling lobby group's quest for an enforceable safe passing rule.

More at

Distance makes the difference - tv ad from Tasmania