The New South Wales Government has announced a trial of Minimum Passing Distance Legislation (MPDL) that will commence in March 2016.
The guidance given by the Roads and Maritime Services reads, “When overtaking give bicycle riders a safe amount of space. This means at least one metre to the side in a 50 km/h zone, if the speed limit is higher, then bicycle riders need more space for their safety.”
Road users must recognise that riders are physically vulnerable and need the protection of space.
The move by the State Government will bring NSW into line with Queensland, the ACT and South Australia who have had these legislations for quite some time now but it is not a silver bullet for rider safety yet. Further awareness campaigns and education go hand in hand with this issue and will be advocated by the Bicycle NSW group, along with updating cycling infrastructure.
At the same time however, the MPDL has been coupled with a number of items that seem to be creating concern within the NSW bicycling community.
Those two items include a massive increase in cycling fines, making them almost equivalent to some vehicle fines. Infringements include riding recklessly, failure to stop at red road signals and failure to carry identification.
As of March 2017 it will be mandatory for all cyclists to carry identification with a 12 month “grace” period to sort out practical issues.