With South Australia’s premier bike race about to begin, everyone is urged to be safe around cyclists.
RAA is calling for respect and patience from all road users, as the Tour Down Under sees thousands of cyclists take to roads around South Australia from 12–21 January.
Last year eight cyclists died on South Australian roads, making 2023 the worst year for cyclist fatalities since 1995 according to the Department for Infrastructure and Transport, prompting the plea for drivers and riders alike to look after each other on the road.
Of the eight fatalities in 2023, at least four involved single cyclists coming off their bike, highlighting the need for cyclists to also take care and ride to the conditions.
RAA senior manager safety and infrastructure Charles Mountain said cyclists were some of our most vulnerable road users.
“Last year was a horrific year for cyclist death on SA roads – with more losing their lives than in any other year since 1995,” he said.
“With the Tour Down Under starting this week, all road users should be mindful and expect to see more cyclists out and about, especially in popular cycling areas like the Adelaide Hills.
“South Australia will be on show over the next 10 days so this will be an opportunity for us to show how well we can share our roads safely.”
Recent RAA research also shows safety is a real concern for SA cyclists – 94 per cent of riders reported having had a near miss with a vehicle, and 76 per cent have been victims of road rage.
The biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere returns from this weekend and will see thousands of cyclists on their bikes for both the competition, as well as several group recreational rides and events.
Mr Mountain urged cyclists and drivers to familiarise themselves with the relevant road rules to ensure they have respectful and safe interactions on the road.
“For drivers, remember the minimum passing distance of one metre when passing cyclists on roads where the speed limit is 60km/h or less,” Mr Mountain said.
“If you need to pass a cyclist or group of cyclists on higher speed roads then you need to allow at least 1.5 metres when passing.
“While it is permissible to cross both single and double white lines when passing, you can only do so if there is no oncoming traffic – otherwise wait until the road is clear.
“Cyclists are permitted to ride two abreast on roads where no bicycle lane is provided, and where a bicycle lane is available, they should ensure they use it.”