Move over for cyclists or face a hefty fine

Council_Road_Safety_Officer_Alana_152141Motorists have been warned they must give cyclists a wider berth, at least a metre in clearance, when passing them on the road under new state cycling laws which came into effect yesterday (Tuesday).

Cyclists also face harsher penalties for breaking the road rules, including a $319 fine for not wearing a helmet or $425 for running a red light.

But a controversial new rule requiring cyclists to carry photo identification or face a hefty $400-plus fine has been delayed till March next year following a public outcry.

Tweed Shire Council yesterday issued a press release on the new laws, saying they were designed to keep cyclists safe and reduce crashes, reminding locals that three cyclists have been killed and 65 injured on Tweed roads over the past five years.

Council’s road safety officer Alana Brooks said that in 88 per cent of the reported crashes, a motor vehicle was involved.

Ms Brooks said the distance between the car and the bike must be at least one metre at 60kph or less and 1.5 metres at more than 60kph.

‘At times, motorists will find there is not sufficient space to provide this clearance while remaining in their lane. Then, if safe to do so, motorists are allowed to cross the centreline, straddle the lane line, and /or drive on a painted island,’ she said.

‘If a motorist cannot provide the required clearance and it is not safe to move out of the traffic lane, they must slow down and sit well behind the rider until it is safe to pass providing the required clearance.

‘If you can’t pass a cyclist safely, be patient and wait until you can leave a safe clearance.’

Of the reported crashes in the Tweed involving cyclists, 20 per cent involved a vehicle hitting a cyclist travelling in the same direction, 17 per cent occurred at an intersection and 11 per cent occurred when a vehicle was exiting a driveway.

‘While we could put a “watch for cyclists” sign at high-risk locations, the reality is cyclists should be expected on all our roads, at intersections, around bends and on pathways and drivers should be on the lookout for them,’ Ms Brooks said.

‘With cyclists in mind, check your blind spots before changing lanes, don’t open your door without first looking behind; and check the footpath and roadway before entering or exiting a driveway.

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One response to “Move over for cyclists or face a hefty fine”

  1. Joe Monks says:

    Cyclists could contribute to their own and others safety by doing the following:

    1. Not riding two abreast.
    2. Wearing high vis clothing.
    3. Not riding on narrow roads during peak hours, dawn and dusk.
    4. Using bicycle lanes where provided.
    5. Wearing helmet and suitable covered footwear.
    6. Not undertaking stationary traffic.
    7. Use front and rear lights.
    8. Not towing children in carts on public roads.
    9. Use commonsense and showing respect for other road users.

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