There are more than 1 million people of all ages who ride a bike each week in Victoria. Hence, this new rule of providing a safe distance between your vehicle and a bicycle rider can aid in significantly reducing the risk of a crash – something this simple can make all the difference in ensuring all parties get home safely.
Did you know that a person riding a bike on the road is 34 times more likely than vehicle occupants to be seriously injured in a crash?
Riders are 4.5 times more likely to be killed in a crash – making them one of the most vulnerable road users.
As you can imagine, in a collision between a bicycle rider and vehicle, the rider is more likely to be seriously injured or killed due to the vehicle’s larger mass and speed.
The new law states that when approaching and passing a bicycle rider, drivers and motorcyclists need to slow down and give:
- At least a 1 metre space in speed zones up to 60km/h
- At least a 1.5 metres space in speed zones over 60km/h.
This still applies to riders in a bicycle lane; sometimes riders will be closer to the edge of the lane in order to keep clear of opening car doors or ‘dooring’.
A few tips on keeping riders safe are to check your blindspots and to take the time to check for riders especially at intersections and when turning left or right.
Penalties apply if drivers do not abide by the new law. Those who do not comply will receive a maximum court penalty of 10 penalty units ($1,652) or an immediate infringement penalty of 2 penalty units ($330). An improper overtaking offence or passing offence incurs 2 demerit points. This is the same as current penalties for overtaking a vehicle without leaving enough distance.
More news in our May 2021 Issue here.
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