NSW has become the latest state to introduce minimum passing distance law (MPDL), leaving VIC and the NT the only state and territory without the legislation.
MPDL in NSW was introduced by off the back of a two-year trial which required drivers to leave one metre to one and a half metres when passing a person riding a bike.
A report evaluating the MPDL trial in NSW suggests that the law has improved bike rider safety, with an estimated 15 per cent reduction in serious crashes caused by close passes.
Video cameras on key roads across metro, regional and rural areas were used to evaluate the success of the trial.
Another key finding from the report is that road users believe compliance has increased since the introduction of the law.
Observed driver compliance during the trial was reported as generally high - ranging from 83 per cent to 95 per cent. Only 61 infringement notices were handed to drivers for not complying during the trial period.
However, anecdotally many bike riders still believe compliance with MPDL is low.
Less than half of bike riders surveyed in the report believed that drivers are passing at a wider distance than they used, however many reported less road rage incidents.
Bicycle Network NSW Public Affairs Manager Bastien Wallace said it is pleasing to see the law fully introduced, but that the real work now begins.
“It is great to see minimum passing distance finally become law, backing in people who ride as legitimate road users in NSW," Ms Wallace said.
"However, our members and friends continue to tell us about regular close passes by vehicles."
"Now with the law in place, we need the government and authorities to drive greater enforcement, education and awareness,” said Ms Wallace.
The MPDL trial was announced in late 2015 (along with a mandatory ID proposal that didn’t get up), but since then there has been very little done for bike riders in NSW.
"Supportive legislation cannot sit in isolation. With a budget announcement impending, Bicycle Network is hoping that the NSW government also provides the investment to make it easier more people to ride,” added Ms Wallace.
MPDLs require drivers to pass bike riders at a minimum distance of one metre when in speed zones of 60km/h or less, or at 1.5 metres in speed zones above 60km/h.