Trialling technology to measure passing distance

A car passing a bike rider in the road
Motorists in Queensland are required to give bike riders a minimum of 1m when they pass them.

Overview of action

Action 3.1, Queensland Cycling Action Plan 2017–2019
Status: complete

Deliver trial of bicycle mounted distance sensor and video capture technologies to determine their effectiveness in better measuring the minimum passing distance between cyclists and road users.

Achievements

A trial of distance sensors and cameras to determine how effective they are at measuring the minimum passing distance between motorists and bicycle riders was completed.

To make Queensland roads safer, motorists are required to give bicycle riders a minimum of 1m when they pass them while travelling under 60km per hour, and 1.5m at faster speeds. Having effective technology in place will help enforce this.

The trial, led by Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), identified that the devices available for testing at the time were able to measure passing distances within 5% accuracy.

The trial found that none of the devices available were able to be permanently sealed to prohibit tampering like similar devices used by Queensland Police for enforcement such as speed cameras. CARRS-Q’s conclusion was that the devices were unable to meet evidentiary requirements for prosecution of infringements of the minimum passing distance law.

Following the trial and based on what was learned, Bicycle Queensland and the Queensland Police Service worked together to develop resources to help make sure motorists respect the minimum passing distance.

This includes an online learning tool and guidance to assist officers in the field gather evidence and enforce Safe Passing Distance laws. New Stay Wider of the Rider graphics have also been displayed on police vehicles.

This work will help grow motorist awareness and increase the safety of bicycle riders across Queensland.

Next steps

The Queensland Government will continue to improve the communication and enforcement of the minimum passing distance laws in partnership with stakeholders.

Lead agency

Department of Transport and Main Roads