This week saw the introduction of new laws targeted at both cyclists and motorists in an effort to make out roads safer for both.
The new laws include a requirement on motorists to allow a metre between themselves and a cyclist when passing them in a 60km/h zone, or 1.5 metres if it is over that speed. Motorists that are passing a cyclist may now cross centre lines to pass them, but only when safe to do so. Motorists that fail to obey the new passing laws face a fine of $330 and 3 demerit points, or a maximum fine of $4,400 if the matter goes to court.
Motorists should indicate to the right for a duration long enough to inform other road users of your intention to pass, a motorist should then indicate to the left after passing the cyclist and return to their original position on the road.
Cyclists also face new hefty fines for breaking road rules. Where once an offence such as running a red light would net a cyclist a $110 fine, cyclists will now pay fines equal to motorists ($330 for running a red light). Cyclists will not accumulate demerit points for fines.
Operation Cycle Safe
To kick off the news laws, Operation Cycle Safe is a Queensland Police Operation aimed at enforcing the new rules and talking to persons that are flouting the rules. Operation Cycle Safe rand for two days earlier this week, the Courier-Mail reported yesterday that 88 infringements notices affected by the new laws have been handed out to cyclists, and zero to motorists in the 2 day period.
The new cycling laws will be trialled for a period of 2 years, after which they will be reviewed. Concern exists over the practicality of enforcing the laws, such as the difficulty in accurately measuring the distance between a cyclist and a motor vehicle to assess whether the law has been broken.