Why a Metre Matters for Cycling Safety: Safe Passing Distance Laws

Momentum is growing across Australian states to introduce a mandatory minimum one metre distance overtaking bicycles to help improve cycling safety.

South Australia, Queensland and the ACT have all introduced the mandatory overtaking distance as part of their road rules.

All the other states recommend that motorists give bike riders a safe amount of space when overtaking them.

For example in NSW, the RMS website recommends giving cyclists at least one metre when overtaking them in a 50 km/h zone, and more space if the speed limit is higher.

In Victoria, the Greens have flagged the reintroduction of a Bill to provide a minimum one-metre passing distance in the State.

The Amy Gillett Foundation, a safe cycling advocacy group, recommends a minimum distance of 1m for roads with speed limits of 60 km/h or less, and 1.5m for roads with higher speed limits.

There are a number of reasons why introducing a similar law in NSW makes sense. First and foremost, the measure will improve cycling safety by reducing the risk of cyclists being side-swiped by cars and trucks.

The mandatory one-metre passing distance for lower speed areas is a clear rule that is easily understood and enforced.

Providing 1.5m for roads with higher speeds will help reduce the risk of tragic accidents happening on rural roads.

Is it time for the introduction of the one-metre rule in NSW?

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