No grace period in cycling safety rule
MOTORISTS won’t be given a free pass on new laws protecting cyclists just because they are new, Tasmania Police have warned.
And police said they would be enforcing the minimum distance passing laws just like any other road safety measure.
The new laws require motorists to pass at least 1m from a cyclist on roads with a speed limit of 60km/h or less, and 1.5m on roads over 60km/h.
Drivers who break the law face fines of up to $159.
The RACT gave its “inprinciple” support to the laws, as it would to any measure that “delivers a road safety benefit”.
“But we’ll be keeping a watching brief on how the laws will be enforced,” an RACT spokesman said.
The laws took effect on Wednesday but don’t expect police to accept this as an any sort of excuse for breaking them.
“There will be no educational grace period as there has been significant promotion of these passing distances for some time, including advertising road signage,” Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling warned.
“In enforcing these rules, Tasmanian Police will exercise discretion that is appropriate to each individual case.”
He encouraged all drivers and cyclists “to show respect to one another and exercise patience to ensure we all get to our destination safely.”
“The new rules, incorporated into the official Road Rules, provide a safer environment for some of our most vulnerable road users,” he said.
“As highlighted by the Road Safety Advisory Council, a bicycle is harder to see than a vehicle and has far less protection; that’s why distance makes the difference.”
Assistant Commissioner Cowling said the laws, which already exist in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT, enhanced safety there.
“Where this legislation has been introduced in other jurisdictions, it has been realised that motorists give more room to cyclists when overtaking than they used to,” he said.
A 2016 evaluation trial in Queensland saw police officers note there was limited enforcement of the passing rule because of difficulties in collecting enough evidence.
However, overall most officers believed that drivers were giving riders more space as a result of the laws.