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New NSW law fines drivers $300 for passing too close to cyclists

Drivers are now required to keep a one metre distance when overtaking cyclists.

The New South Wales Government has passed a new law that requires drivers to leave cyclists a one metre gap while passing under 60km/h, or risk a $330 fine and loss of two demerit points.

The gap is increased to 1.5 metres if the passing speed is over 60km/h, as at higher speeds cars generate an aero pressure wave that can impact the rider if the passing car is too close.

There are also some exemptions to help drivers keep a safe distance when overtaking cyclists, such as allowing them to cross solid white lines, drive over flat painted islands and move into other lanes when it is safe to do so.

Over a two-year trial, there was a 15 per cent drop in car to bicycle accidents while 81 per cent of riders and 69 per cent of drivers supported the new rule.

The ACT, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania already have similar laws in place while the same vehicle speed and distance guidelines are recommended for drivers in  Victoria. 

Last year, rather than pass the recommendations into law, the Victorian government instead chose to run a public education campaign aimed at changing drivers' attitudes towards cyclists.

Where do you stand on this new law? Let us know in the comments.