An inquiry into police enforcement of close passing laws in Australia will be launched after the death of a prominent cycling campaigner.
Cameron Frewer, 44, died on November 5 after being hit by a pick-up truck while riding near his home in Queensland.
Days before his death Mr Frewer, a dedicated cycling safety activist, had penned a letter decrying police attitudes to near passing.
A government agency in Queensland will now refer Mr Frewer’s concerns to the Crime and Corruption Commission to examine how police deal with near passing enforcement, according to Australia’s news.com.au. (opens in new tab)
In his open letter Mr Frewer wrote: “I am a father of three, a husband, someone who rides a bicycle on occasion, as well as a driver and motorcyclist.
“I ride alone and at times that avoid rush hour traffic. I stop at red lights, ride as far left as practicable, and do the best I can to keep myself safe on the roads.
“I don’t shave my legs, I use flashing front and rear lights and wear cycling gear that always carries a ‘safe passing’ message.
“I am hardly the ‘stereotypical’ lycra lout, but I do value my life and I value a law and process that encourages people to use bikes for whatever reason.”
Mr Frewer also listed 19 cases from his own experience when he had reported near passes to police with video evidence, but nothing was done.
He alleged that officers were swayed by their personal feelings of “fellow drivers” and “nuisance cyclists.”
Police responses to Mr Frewer’s reports include an officer dismissing the incident because the driver didn’t know the law, ‘maybe the rider should should choose an alternative form of transport’ and one officer saying “I don’t agree with the law.”
According to news.com.au, the Queensland Government will sanction an inquiry by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Mr Frewer’s widow Catherine said she hopes her husband’s death can bring change and vowed to continue his legacy.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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