Members of the bike riding community are pushing for a change in both attitudes and laws, to better protect the vulnerable road users.
The renewed calls come after the driver responsible for the 2017 death of Bendigo elite cyclist Jason Lowndes was sentenced on Thursday for dangerous driving causing death and using a mobile phone while driving as a probationary driver.
Billie Rodda, 22, was put on a three-year community corrections order with 200 hours of community work, ordered to pay a $2000 fine, and banned from driving for three years after pleading guilty to the offences.
Since 2008, 90 bicyclists have died on Victoria's roads, including eight this year.
Between January 2009 and March this year, there were more than 4000 Transport Accident Commission claims involving bicyclists who were hospitalised, 380 of whom stayed in hospital for more than two weeks.
Bicyclists have long called for safe passing distances to be legislated, with Victoria the only jurisdiction in Australia without mandated distances.
In other states and territories, drivers must leave at least a one-metre gap when overtaking bike riders on roads with a 60 km/h or under speed limit, and a space of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking riders on roads with higher speed limits.
In 2017 the state government decided against adopting a parliamentary inquiry recommendation that mandatory passing distances be legislated.
However, Road Safety Minister Jaala Pulford said earlier this year she was considering the findings of a review of a Transport Accident Commission education campaign on safe passing distances.
"If we are to consider a rule change we need to make sure that it is something that is workable and something that is enforceable because if it is neither it is not going to make anyone else safer," Ms Pulford said in July.
Bendigo Bicycling Network's Edward Barkla said Victorian parliament as a whole needed to show it was serious about the safety of bike riders by legislating mandatory passing distances.
He said it sent the message that the government did not take bicyclists as seriously as other road users.
"We've got to have our drivers thinking about their passing distance and how they interface with other road users," Mr Barkla added.
National advocacy group Bicycle Network is also urging the government to introduce passing distance laws.
"It's time for Victoria to get in line with the rest of Australia," chief executive officer Craig Richards said.
Bicycle Network wants drivers who use a mobile phone while driving and kill someone in the process to be charged with culpable driving causing death, rather than dangerous driving causing death.
In the case of Mr Lowndes' death, Rodda had used her phone earlier while driving, but was not alleged to have been using it at the time of or immediately before the fatal collision.
Mr Richards said stronger legislation was needed to influence people's attitudes towards using a phone while driving.
"We need stronger laws and tougher penalties that make people stop and think before they reach for the phone and take their eyes off the road. It should be treated the same as drink-driving," he said.
Bicycle Network has been pushing for a change in the law since a fatal crash involving a cyclist and a driver using a phone in 2001.
Mr Richards said the current laws were not changing drivers' behaviour.
Offences of dangerous driving causing death committed on or after October 28, 2018 now carry a mandatory custodial sentence, with the maximum sentence 10 years' imprisonment.
Culpable driving similarly has a mandatory jail term, but with a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment.
In a submission to a National Transport Commission review earlier this year, Bicycle Network also gave such recommendations as consistency in laws across the country for driver distraction; a rapid roll-out of high-tech traffic cameras and legal reforms to make police enforcement easier; and in-vehicle phone blocking technologies in new vehicles, among others.
Mr Barkla too would like to see technological means of preventing mobile phone use while driving.
But he said there also needed to be a change in drivers' thinking about the use of mobile phones, including a the desire to remain connected all the time.
Mr Barkla encouraged drivers to consider who they were putting at risk if they were distracted behind the wheel.
He said a shift in thinking on mobile phone use needed to affect the next generation of drivers, suggesting a focus on education in schools and for learner drivers as possible measures.
Mr Barkla also wants to see more people taking to the roads on bicycles.
Riding was good for people's health, the environment and reducing traffic congestion, he said, as well as bringing together the community.
He also hopes for a general, positive shift in attitudes towards bike riders among the wider community.
Mr Richards told the Bendigo Advertiser one of the most important steps towards improving bicyclist safety was building good places to ride, including wide shoulders on rural roads.
In this regard, Mr Barkla, said the City of Greater Bendigo had done a "great job" providing for bike riders.
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There were also steps cyclists could take to make themselves safer on the roads, he said.
These include wearing more conspicuous clothing, to make themselves better seen on the road, and ensuring there are lights on bicycles, or 'Lights for Lowndesy'.
In the wake of Mr Lowndes' death, and others like him, Mr Barkla hopes these changes can derive some good from the bad.
He wants the community to work together to make the roads a safer place.
"If anything comes out of this tragedy, it's that we see change," he said.