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Couple Bicycling on Rural Road

Cameras key to minimum passing

MINIMUM safe passing laws for drivers overtaking cyclists have been passed through parliament and will come into effect from November 30.

The laws, an initiative of Midland MLA and Police minister Michelle Roberts, will require drivers passing a cyclist travelling in the same direction on a road to be at least one metre away from the cyclist if the speed limit is less than 60km/h or 1.5 metres of the speed limit is more than 60km/h.

Drivers who contravene the new law will be penalized $400 and four demerit points.

As part of the new rules, drivers are also permitted to cross centre lane markings on roads, including double white lines, to ensure the appropriate passing distance, but only if it is safe to do so, and the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic.

It is unclear how WA Police will enforce the laws, but Bicycle Centre Midland owner Leigh Barker believes technology holds the solution.

“I don’t think drivers realise, especially if they don’t cycle, the amount of suction or vacuum they create when they go past us, especialy trucks,” he said,

“It’s a great law in theory, now it needs to be enforced.

“It used to be that the odd person used to have a GoPro on the bike, but now we’re seeing more and more people with cameras front and rear, so I think a lot of those are going to be used as evidence.”

The new rules will be monitored and evaluated by the Road Safety Commission, with a report provided to the Minister after two years.

About Liam Ducey

Liam Ducey is an experienced journalist, having worked in print media in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Port Hedland, Bunbury and across the metropolitan area, as well as online for several Fairfax Media mastheads. His reporting has seen him awarded the 2013 Clubs WA award for Best Club Media Story in 2013 and the Western Australian Football Commission Umpiring Media Award in 2014, and he's a finalist in three categories of the 2018 WA Media Awards. He's recently had a baby girl, Emilia, with his wife Roselyn and has lost all concept of time and sleep.

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