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.

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