New laws target safer ride for cyclists
MOTORING groups and cyclists alike say it's a shame new laws regarding safely overtaking bicycles have needed to be introduced to improve rider safety.
Both parties raised concerns that fining drivers for not leaving cyclists safe room when passing could exacerbate an already uneasy relationship between drivers and push-bike riders.
New cycling laws introduced by the Queensland Government come in to force on April 7, stipulating motorists must leave at least one metre when passing cyclists in a 60kmh or less speed zone.
On roads faster than this, a passing distance of 1.5 metres will be required.
Regular cyclist Brett Reedman, of Mountain Creek, said better education for all road users, rather than penalties, would have been preferable.
"It's a good idea to leave that amount of room when passing a cyclist, but it needs an education campaign to go along with it," he said.
"The laws will be difficult to enforce, but positively the laws should give people more awareness that cyclists have the right to be on the road and are vulnerable."
RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding agreed drivers and cyclists needed to be more respectful of each other to improve safety, but was also disappointed a law needed to be introduced.
"Our (RACQ's) view was there was an absolute clear case for safe passing distances for cyclists," he said.
"But based on overseas experience, education has shown to be far more effective than having a rule."
Mr Spalding said the relationship between cyclists and motorists was an emotive topic and important to get right.
"It's a critical safety issue, and if you get it wrong there'll be more animosity between drivers and cyclists," he said. Mr Reedman said he'd been sworn at by drivers and had eggs thrown at him on two separate occasions while using the cycling lane along David Low Way.
"Motorists sometimes need reminding that the cyclist you're spitting at or trying to run off the road is a person: a father, mother, husband, wife, sister or brother," he said. The new rules regarding safely overtaking cyclists will be trialled over the next two years.
From April 7, motorists must stay wider of cyclists by giving:
A minimum of one metre when passing cyclists in a 60kmh or less speed zone.
A minimum of 1.5-metres where the speed limit is over 60kmh.
BUT, drivers are legally allowed to cross centre lines - including double unbroken centre lines - to pass cyclists when safe to do so.
PENALTIES FOR BREAKING NEW CYCLING LAW
Motorists who don't leave the required space for cyclists and are caught by the Queensland Police will receive three demerit points and a fine of $330. A maximum fine of $4400 can apply if the matter goes to court.