New passing laws in Tasmania mean motorists must be at least one metre from a cyclist when passing on roads with a speed limit of up to 60 km/h, and one-and-a-half metres on roads over 60 km/h.
Building off the succesful safety campaing in 2016 emphasising the "distance matters" message of allowing at least 1 metre (60km or less) or 1.5m (>50m/hr) passing distances to cyclists and the change to laws allowing motoristists to drive on or over continuous lines (but only if they have a clear view of oncoming traffic) when overtaking cyclists, the Government has now introduced changes to the law to now making the minimum passing distances law.
Cyclists can travel two abreast, not more than 1.5 metres apart and take the whole lane if necessary to be visible. The road rules have changed to help make cyclists safer when drivers overtake them and to improve cyclist and pedestrian traffic.
You can get more information on laws relating to cycling in Tasmanian Road Safety Advisor Council websiteRoad Safety Advisor Council website.
Summary of Safe Passing Distance Road Rules
When passing a cyclist, driver must maintain a safe passing distance of:
- at least 1.5 metres in speed zones higher than 60 km/h
- at least 1 metre in 60 km/h or lower speed zones
- The law applies to all roads, even where there are bicycle lanes.
Before passing a cyclist, drivers must:
- Check that the road ahead is clear
- Check mirrors and blind spots
- Pull out to pass, leaving plenty of room between their vehicle and the cyclist
- After passing, check for the cyclist in their mirror before moving back into the lane.
If it’s not safe (for example the road is too narrow or the view ahead is not clear), then drivers must slow down and wait until road conditions change before passing safely.
When passing cyclists riding two abreast, drivers need to provide a minimum safe passing distance (either 1 or 1.5 metres) between them and the cyclist closest to the driver.