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Passing laws now in force in Tasmania

New minimum passing distance laws for cyclists have come into force in Tasmania, as the Government leads the way in road safety for all

Motorists must be at least one metre away from a cyclist on road up to 60 kph and one-and-a-half metres on roads over 60.

The Government’s reformed came under its Towards Zero road safety strategy, Greater protection for cyclists has been a key element.

The new law is a result of the two-year trial in Queensland and has taken several years to enshrined in law.

A public education campaign started a year ago and there will be a new advertising campaign, beginning on Sunday, to highlight the laws.

Premier Will Hodgman said most road users act responsibly and share the roads – now there is no excuse of not taking care around vulnerable road users, “Cyclists will always come off second best against a car, truck or motorcycle and these passing distances are the least motorists can, and now must, give”.

“The introduction of these new laws build on road rules that allow motorists to cross centre lines, straddle lane-lines and drive on painted islands to safely overtake a cyclist, provided the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and that it is safe to do so. Penalties of up to $159 apply and will be enforced by Tasmania Police."

“But, it is important to recognise that cyclists must also obey all road rules to ensure their own safety.

“This includes stopping at stop signs and traffic lights, riding on the left side of the road and giving way to pedestrians on crossings and at intersections.”

Mr Hodgman continued "To improve the safe flow of cycle traffic on footpaths and reduce confusion at intersections we are now also allowing cyclists to ride across pedestrian and children’s crossings. When cyclists ride across pedestrian crossings they must always proceed slowly and safely, give way to pedestrians on the crossing and keep to the left of oncoming pedestrians or cyclists."

A revamped Distance makes the difference campaign will kick off around the Tasmania on Sunday.

The USA and UK are now falling behind, not having any minimum distance passing laws to protect vulnerable road users, as the number of high profile deaths increases.