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Recent Changes to Cyclist Laws in Western Australia

It has been four months since Western Australia introduced laws to better protect cyclists on the road. As of its introduction, laws dictating minimum distances for drivers and cyclists have already been introduced in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.

Paramount lawyers are providing a refresher to ensure that this newly introduced law remains fresh in the minds of motorists, helping to limitcyclist and motor vehicle accidents in Perth.

New Law Reforms for Cyclists

Similar to the laws passed in other states around the country, the newly introduced law requires that motor vehicles must pass a cyclist at a distance of 1 metre on roads where the posted speed limit is 60 kilometres an hour or less, and 1.5 metres on roads where the posted speed limit is more than 60 kilometres an hour.

The information for drivers provided by the Western Australia Road Safety Commission is as follows:

  • When overtaking cyclists, it is recommended to do so at a distance of at least one metre;
  • Must give way to cyclists if crossing an on-road bicycle lane;
  • Before opening a car door, should make sure there isn’t a cyclist is in the way;
  • When turning left - if a cyclist is in front, allow them to pass before making a turn;
  • Must not park or stop in an on-road bicycle lane;
  • Must not drive in an on-road bicycle lane for more than 50m;
  • Must not enter the bicycle storage area at intersections.

The fine for failing to overtake a bicycle at a safe distance is $400 and 4 demerit points, while entering a bicycle storage area will incur a fine of $200 and 2 demerit points.

The introduction of these rules also allows for drivers to cross the centre line markings on road (if it is safe to do so) in order to ensure that distance is maintained between cyclists. To measure the minimum passing distance, drivers must consider the furthest point to the left on the driver’s vehicle to the furthest point on the right on the bicycle.

Rules for cyclists

The introduction of these laws is assuredly a win for cyclists – WestCycle, the peak body for cycling in Western Australia, had previously been pushing for a minimum safe passing distance for over 3 years.

Although it may seem like cyclists are being given complete freedom on the road at the cost of motor vehicle freedom, this is certainly not the case. These newly introduced passing distances laws do not apply to cyclists passing vehicles, so cyclists should remain aware of their proximity to cars as they pass them.

Although this should be common sense, we chose to reiterate the following: cyclists should not be attaching themselves by any other vehicle or risk a $100 fine. A $100 fine will also be incurred if cyclist approaches the rear of a motor vehicle within 2 metres over a distance of more than 200 metres.

Find out more about cycling laws today

Laws involving cyclists and motor vehicles certainly have the potential to be overwhelming or confusing. If you have any queries related to laws related to cyclists, motor vehicles, or how compensation works for either of these groups, make sure to get in touch with the team at Paramount lawyers today – we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

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