Government announces new laws protecting cyclists from passing motorists unsafely

New motoring laws could save lives in some of the state’s cycling danger zones. 

The government announced on Sunday that it would introduce new laws next year to require motorists to keep their distance when passing cyclists.

The new road rules could see motorists required to maintain a distance of one metre when overtaking cyclists in 60km/h or lower speed zones and one and a half metres in higher speed limit areas. 

The West Tamar Highway has fast become a popular ride for cyclists, but with speed limits hitting 100km/h, incidents do occur. 

In December 2013, a man died on the highway when a car collided with his bicycle. 

I think that the more that we understand what each of us is required to do, the safer the roads will be for cyclists and for motorists.

West Tamar Mayor Christina Holmdahl

West Tamar Mayor Christina Holmdahl said it was a positive move given the high number of people now cycling on highways.

“The West Tamar Highway is a very popular route for cyclists and I think that the more that we understand what each of us is required to do, the safer the roads will be for cyclists and for motorists,” Cr Holmdahl said.

“The regular users of the highway are always aware that there are cyclists on the roads and there is signage which has gone up which has created a greater awareness.

“But there is always that unknown factor of somebody who isn’t aware of a cyclist and laws like this are really required for those events.” 

On the North-West, Burnie Mayor Anita Dow said the new laws would not only keep road users safe, but promote an active lifestyle. 

“Many cyclists use the Bass Highway and adjoining roads, and the introduction of these new laws may give cyclists greater peace of mind when travelling on busy roads,” she said. 

“Community education about these changes to the law will be required to ensure all road users are aware of their new responsibilities.” 

Bicycle Network Tasmanian adviser Garry Bailey said the new laws would further protect cyclists when they are on the roads.