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Cycling law changes: motorists face judgement calls

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UPDATED: Motorists will have to make judgement calls on when it is safe to cross over double-line markings under new cycling laws to come into effect later this month.

The State Government announced its new cycling regulations today, after signalling the changes earlier in the year.

The detail shows that motorists will face the challenge of making the right judgement calls on the road, particularly on sections of the open road where overtaking is considered risky.

The new laws, which were suggested by a “citizen’s jury”, will require motorists to keep a one-metre distance when overtaking cyclists on roads where the speed limit is 60 km/h or under,  and at least 1.5 metres when the speed limit is over 60 km/h.

Motorists will be allowed to cross double-line marking to overtake cyclists, if they have a “clear view of any approaching traffic and can do so safely”.

Double lines indicate a stretch of road where the authorities have determined it is unsafe to overtake. Previously, this judgement was taken out of the hands of motorists, as crossing the double centre lines was prohibited.

Breaking the one metre rule will result in an expiation fee of $287, plus a $60 victims of crime level, and two demerit points.

The Government’s new rules, to come into force on 25 October, will also allow all cyclists to ride on footpaths – a change from the current rules which only allow cyclists under 12, or adults riding with them, to ride on footpaths. Cyclists will be required to ride in a bike lane where one is provided. On footpaths, they will still be required to keep left and sound a warning bell where appropriate.

Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said public consultation showed that more than 70 per cent of South Australians supported the changes.

Parliament will not have a chance to vote on the changes, as they will be enacted via regulation.

The Amy Gillett Foundation praised the State Government for the move.

Foundation chairman Mark Textor said SA would become the first Australian state to pass the “one metre rule” into law.

“The decision is a breakthrough for the Amy Gillett Foundation and marks a significant milestone in the foundation’s history,” Textor said.

“Having commemorated 10 years since Amy’s death earlier this year, we now have the first state to put ‘a metre matters’ into law. The foundation has spearheaded the national effort on this because it will help save lives.”

He said a trial of the rule in Queensland was working.

“A metre matters because it provides a practical measurement for drivers when overtaking bike riders.”

Amy’s mother Mary Safe said: “We are thrilled that South Australia is leading Australia in safe cycling. The public consultation earlier this year showed very strong support for these improvements to bike rider safety.”

Amy Gillett was an elite Australian cyclist killed during a training ride in Germany in 2005.

 

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