Three cyclists have been killed and 65 injured on Tweed roads over the past five years. In 88 per cent of the reported crashes, a motor vehicle has been involved.

These and other shocking statistics have prompted a change in the NSW road rules from today (Tuesday 1 March), dictating that motorists must give cyclists a wider berth when passing them on the roadway. The distance between the car and the bike must be at least:

  • 1 metre at 60km per hour or less
  • 1.5 metres at more than 60km per hour

At times, motorists will find there is not sufficient space to provide this clearance while remaining in their lane. Then, if safe to do so, motorists are allowed to:

  • cross the centreline
  • straddle the lane line, and /or
  • drive on a painted island

If a motorist cannot provide the required clearance and it is not safe to move out of the traffic lane, they must slow down and sit well behind the rider until it is safe to pass providing the required clearance.

“These new road rules are designed to keep cyclists safe and reduce crashes,” Council Road Safety Officer Alana Brooks said.

“If you can’t pass a cyclist safely, be patient and wait until you can leave a safe clearance.”

Of the reported crashes in the Tweed involving cyclists, 20 per cent involved a vehicle hitting a cyclist travelling in the same direction, 17 per cent occurred at an intersection and 11 per cent occurred when a vehicle was exiting a driveway.

“While we could put a ‘watch for cyclists’ sign at high-risk locations, the reality is cyclists should be expected on all our roads, at intersections, around bends and on pathways and drivers should be on the lookout for them.”

With cyclists in mind:

  • check your blind spots before changing lanes
  • don’t open your door without first looking behind, and
  • check the footpath and roadway before entering or exiting a driveway

Cyclists face harsher penalties for breaking the road rules, including a $319 fine for not wearing a helmet.

In 2017, a new rule will be introduced requiring cyclists to carry photo identification.

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