Drivers who fail to leave at least a one metre between themselves and cyclists on the road will now face a $400 fine and lose four demerit points.
The new legislation, set to be enforced in Western Australia from November 30, will bring the state into line with the rest of the country after a campaign by cyclists in Perth.
Under the new rule, there needs to be a minimum distance of one metre between a bike and vehicle when it is overtaking slower than 60km/h, and 1.5 metres when travelling faster.
To allow for safer overtaking, drivers will be allowed to cross middle markings of the road, including double white lines.
The minimum safe passing distance is measured from the furthest point on the left of the driver’s vehicle to the furthest point to the right of the cyclist’s bicycle.
After two years the effectiveness of the law will be assessed and the Government will decide whether or not to keep it in place.
The decision comes as part of Premier Mark McGowan’s election promise, and follows the deaths of seven cyclists on WA in 2017 alone.
A minimum distance of one metre is required when overtaking slower than 60km/h, and one and half when travelling quicker
The state was heading towards having the worst fatality rate in recent history, according to Westcycle chief executive Matt Fulton.
‘The road toll for drivers has been gradually decreasing in the last 20 years, but for riders it’s been increasing, ‘ Mr Fulton told Perth Now.
‘This will make cycling in WA a safer activity.’
Western Australian drivers will now face a $400 fine and lose four demerit points if they don’t leave at least one metre between themselves and cyclists when overtaking
Penalties are significantly harsher than those in other states, with drivers who break the law in New South Wales hit with a $330 fine and the loss of just two demerit points.
Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said legislating the ‘common sense’ rule was something the state needed in order to ‘save lives’ and ‘prevent injury’.
‘Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road users and these new rules are designed to provide greater protection and hopefully reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths,’ Ms Roberts said.
Police sensationally supported a group of cyclists caught riding three abreast on a one-way street despite having a dedicated bike lane
For breaching the law in Queensland, motorists are slapped with a $378 fine and lose three demerit points.
Minimum safe passing laws have been operating in Queensland for several years after a successful trial found the law led to safer outcomes for cyclists.
South Australian drivers face a fine of $347 and the loss of two demerit points, while Tasmanians are stung $159.
The law’s introduction comes shortly after dashcam footage emerged showing cyclists riding three abreast on a one-way street emerged.
An infuriated driver was caught behind the group, which he believed should have been utilising the road’s dedicated bike lane.
But police were quick to defend the cyclists, saying they were well within their rights, providing they adhered to the road rules.
After two years the effectiveness of the law will be assessed and the Government will decide whether or not to keep it in place