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Victoria the last to force safe passing distance for cyclists

Motorists in Victoria will need to give cyclists space when passing them on roads or risk fines of up to $1652.

New rules will come into effect in Victoria next week requiring motorists to give cyclists plenty of space when passing them on roads.

From Monday, motorists must give riders at least one-metre clearance when overtaking on roads up to 60km/h, and 1.5 metres on roads with speed limits above 60km/h.

Victoria had previously been the only state without minimum passing distance laws.

Roads Minister Ben Carroll said in a statement that 13 cyclists lost their lives on Victoria's roads in 2020, an increase on 10 deaths averaged the past five years:

"Last year was a horrible year on our road for cyclists.
"These measures will ensure everyone has a safe place on our roads
"This new rule provides a clear direction on how much space motorists should give cyclists when passing.
“We all share the roads and need to look out for one another."

Under the updated rules, drivers and motorcyclists can briefly cross painted lines to give cyclists the space they need - including solid lines, double lines, painted tram lane lines and painted islands - but only when they have a clear view ahead and it's safe to do so.

Improper overtaking, or passing offences, will incur two demerit points and on the spot fines of $330.

A maximum fine of $1652 can be can incur.

Mr Carroll said cyclists will need to follow the road rules as well, including by riding predictably, riding in bike lanes when they are provided and using hand signals to change direction.

The National cycling safety charity’s CEO, Dan Kneipp said in a statement,

"A metre matters because it can save a person's life, and these road rules will help our community avoid the terrible impact of road trauma.
"Giving cyclists safe space when you drive helps everyone stay safe, and most importantly it makes cycling easier and more enjoyable for Victorians.”

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said enforcing the new rules could be difficult, but stated "We'll be using discretion where appropriate and trying to educate drivers."


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