New safe distance passing laws

Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts says new passing laws will be monitored and assessed to determine their success in improving safety.

NEW safe passing distance rules designed to help motorists and cyclists share the roads together start next month.

On Saturday, October 28 Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said the new rules required drivers passing a cyclist travelling in the same direction on a road to do so at a minimum distance of 1m on a road with a posted speed limit not more than 60kmh or 1.5m on a road with a posted speed limit of more than 60kmh.

The penalty for drivers who contravene the new law is $400 and four demerit points.

As part of the new rules, drivers are also permitted to cross centre lane markings on roads, including double white lines, to ensure the appropriate passing distance, but only if it is safe to do so, and the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic.

The minimum safe passing distance is measured from the furthest point on the left of the driver’s vehicle to the furthest point to the right of the cyclist’s bicycle.

The new rules will be monitored and evaluated by the Road Safety Commission, with a report provided to the Minister after two years.

Mrs Roberts said seven cyclists have been killed on WA roads already this year.

“Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road users and these new rules are designed to provide greater protection and hopefully reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths,’’ she said.

She said the new rules, which start on November 30, provided clear guidance about how much room drivers must leave to safely pass a cyclist.

“It’s about motorists and cyclists showing mutual respect for one another and sharing the roads together safely.

“The McGowan Government made a commitment to make cycling safer in Western Australia and we are pleased to deliver on our promise.’’