Push for minimum passing distance

SAFE BUFFER: RoadSafe North East (RSNE) has joined the Amy Gillett Foundation’s Cycle Safe Community Program and has been running a public awareness campaign around the “a metre matters” campaign. Cyclist Lyn Mackay shows the metre distance cyclists would like motorists to give them when passing. PHOTO: Luke Plummer

QUEENSLAND has introduced a trial of a law requiring drivers of vehicles to overtake cyclists with a one metre minimum berth where the speed limit is 60 km/h, or 1.5m where the speed limit is higher.

Motorists caught driving within one metre of cyclists will be fined $330 and lose three demerit points under a two-year trial starting this month.

Motorists will be able to cross double lines on the other hand – when it is safe to do so – to pass a cyclist.

The trial follows a push by the Amy Gillett Foundation to ramp up its 2009 ‘A Metre Matters’ campaign to push for a minimum overtaking distance to be introduced as law around Australia, rather than just a recommendation.

In Victoria, the road rules state only that a driver overtaking a vehicle must pass the vehicle at a sufficient distance to avoid a collision with the vehicle or obstructing the path of the vehicle.

The cycling community believes these so-called ‘safe passing distance’ laws do little to protect cyclists and don’t punish drivers that are seemingly in breach of the law.

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