With so much discussion over the recent NSW Cycle Laws, you could be forgiven of not knowing what is actually the law and what is a topic for debate. To take the confusion out of things and help you avoid a hefty fine we have put together a quick summary of laws that apply to cyclists and drivers alike.
A meter space.
From 1 March 2016, drivers who pass a bicycle rider must allow a distance of at least:
- 1 metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less
- 1.5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h
If drivers cannot pass a bicycle rider safely, they should slow down and wait until it is safe to pass the rider, leaving the minimum distance. To help drivers provide the minimum distance, some exemptions to the road rules will apply.
Drivers will be exempt from the following rules, as long as it is safe to pass the bicycle rider with at least a metre of space and they have a clear view of approaching traffic:
- Keep to the left of the centre of the road (two-way road with no dividing line)
- Keep to the left of the centre of a dividing line – broken and unbroken lines
- Keep off a flat dividing strip
- Keep off a flat painted island
- Driving within a single marked lane or line of traffic
- Moving from one marked lane to another across a continuous line separating the lanes
Drivers caught not allowing the minimum distance when passing a bicycle rider face a $319 fine and a penalty of two demerit points.
Bicycle riders over 18 MUST carry photo ID
From 1 March 2016, all bicycle riders aged 18 and over must carry the required photo identification. This will help riders be identified in an emergency. NSW Police will also be able to ask for identification if they believe a bicycle rider has broken the road rules.
Bicycle riders will have 12 months to adjust to the new law. From 1 March 2017, riders stopped by police for breaking the road rules could face a $106 fine if they do not have the required photo ID.
The required photo ID includes a driver licence or a NSW Photo Card. Already in NSW, more than 90 per cent of adults currently hold a driver licence or NSW Photo Card.
A 5-year NSW Photo Card costs $51. A NSW Photo Card is issued free of charge for eligible concession holders, people who receive a Centrelink Carer Allowance and NSW Seniors Card holders.
Like drivers, the majority of bicycle riders have safety in mind most of the time. The new penalties will only apply to riders who behave dangerously and break the law.
Fines for five offences will increase so that bicycle riders receive the same fines as motorists for high risk behaviour. Increased penalties will apply to bicycle riders who are caught:
- Not wearing a helmet (up from $71 to $319)
- Running a red light (up from $71 to $425)
- Riding dangerously (up from $71 to $425)
- Holding on to a moving vehicle (up from $71 to $319)
- Not stopping at children’s/pedestrian crossings (up from $71 to $425)
Penalties for other bicycle rider offences will also increase from $71 to $106, including the offence of riding at night without lights.