Minimum passing distance laws will be active in Victoria from Monday 26 April 2021.
From Monday, people driving cars will need to pass people riding bikes at a distance of one metre in speed zones below 60km/h and 1.5 metres in speed zones above 60km/h.
The announcement was made this morning by Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll at Fitzroy High School.
“This new rule provides a clear direction on how much space motorists should give cyclists when passing. We all share the roads and need to look out for one another," said Mr Carroll.
Victoria is the last state in Australia to have minimum passing distance laws. The Andrews Labor government announced their decision to bring in the laws in October 2020 and after months of consultation with police, road authorities and bike groups, the rules are now set.
Drivers and motorcyclists will be able to cross solid lines, double lines, painted tram lane lines and painted islands in order to pass people riding bikes at the correct distance, as long as they have a clear view ahead and it is safe to do so.
On the spot infringements will incur a fine of $330, however the law can attract maximum court penalties of up to $1,652. Improper overtaking or passing offences incur two demerit points.
Victoria Police will enforce the law and are confident that people will be able to judge the correct passing distance.
The law is a win for both regular bike riders and also people who are interested in bike riding, but have concerns about sharing the road motor vehicles. Minimum passing distance laws will give people more confidence to jump on a bike and ride.
Without the tireless work of bike rider representative groups including the Amy Gillet Foundation the laws may never have been brought in.
The introduction of the new laws will include an advertising campaign educating the community about how and why you should share the road with people riding bikes.
Further information was also provided by the state government about the next stage of the pop-up bike lane trial.
Pre-construction engagement is starting on the 10km Darebin-Yarra connectors, which will enhance existing routes and run through Fairfield, Northcote, Clifton Hill and Fitzroy. It is expected that pop-up lanes will link to the Merri Creek Trail.
Work should begin in June and will add signage, road markings, crossing points and connections. In some locations, barriers will be installed to separate people on bikes from motorists.
It was also announced that a trial to understand how e-scooters could be safely incorporated into the transport network will start later this year. It will run for up to a year in three council areas chosen through a targeted expression of interest process, regulated by the Department of Transport.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.