Written by Michael Hempsall
January 21, 2016
The NSW Government will in March 2016 introduce laws requiring that motorists to leave at least a one metre gap as they overtake cyclists.
For many motorists this will be a difficult or impossible task where roads are narrow or there is heavy traffic. Motorists already challenged by road spaces ill-designed and ill-suited to sharing with cyclists will no doubt find this immensely frustrating.
The unavoidable reality, however, is an increasing emphasis by Local and the State governments to encourage use of the roadways by cyclists and accordingly the new laws are likely to receive priority enforcement.
Motorists should also be aware that as a result of these changes there may be a recalibration of other laws. For example, if an accident occurs in circumstances where the one meter gap was not observed police may be more inclined to lay a charge of negligent driving or dangerous driving on the motorist, the latter of which carries gaol as a maximum punishment.
Drivers may take some small comfort from the fact that cyclists will now be fined the same amount for running a red light: $425 up from $71; and will pay a substantially increased fine of $319 for not wearing a helmet. More controversially the new laws will also require adult cyclists to carry identification from March 2017.
Fines and demerit points will no doubt abound.