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12 months on from the introduction of Minimum Passing Distance

12 months on from the introduction of Minimum Passing Distance. Ongoing education and enforcement is now key.

  • 12-month anniversary since the introduction of minimum passing distance laws in Western Australia, which came into effect 30 November 2017.
  • Feedback from the cycling community is that it has made a considerable difference to safety on our roads.
  • We call on the State Government to invest in further education of the minimum passing distance laws and the importance of passing cyclists safely.
  • We call on the WA Police to increase their focus on enforcement and use their power to issue a $400 fine and 4 demerit points for those breaking the law.

On 30 November 2017, after many years of advocating for its introduction, WestCycle were incredibly pleased to see Minimum Passing Distance laws introduced in Western Australia that brought us into line with most of the other States in Australia.

12-months on and feedback from the cycling community has been positive and they are making a considerable difference to the improvement of safety for the cycling community of Western Australia.

As part of its introduction, the Road Safety Commission ran education campaigns on the importance of passing bicycle riders safely as well as the introduction of the Minimum Passing Distance laws on billboards, radio, social media and TV, via the “Might be a Mate”, “Might be Commetti” and “Must be a Metre” campaigns.

With November 30 marking 12 months since the introduction of the laws, continued reinforcement of their implementation is key and WestCycle are now calling for further and ongoing education and enforcement of the Minimum Passing Distance laws to continue to ensure that these laws continue to be effective.

“We congratulate the State Government for the introduction of the Minimum Passing Distance laws in 2017 and we now call on them to continue their investment in education campaigns and WA Police to increase its focus on enforcing these laws”, said WestCycle CEO, Matt Fulton

Last month, WestCycle and eight other Australian cycling organisations joined in a national call to all states to conduct enforcement campaigns with the primary goal of education and raising awareness of the importance of leaving a safe distance when passing bicycle riders, supported by a visible demonstration by Police of the legitimacy of bicycle riders on roads.

In this call to action, a video interview organised by We Ride Australia, highlighted a great example of a highly effective education and enforcement program by the UK’s West Midlands Police, that resulted in a 20% reduction in deaths and serious injuries.

“If we are truly committed to the Towards Zero strategy we must find initiatives that address vulnerable road users and we look forward to continued dialogue with the WA Police, Road Safety Commission and Minister of Police and Road Safety the Hon Michelle Roberts MLA, on measures that will make a tangible difference to the community”


 About the Minimum Passing Distance Laws

On 30 November 2017, the Western Australian roads rules were amended to specify that a driver of a motor vehicle must pass a bicycle travelling in the same direction at a safe distance, being:

  • 1 metre on roads where the posted speed limit is 60 km/h or less;
  • 1.5 metres on roads where the posted speed limit is more than 60km/h.

This law allows drivers to cross centre line markings, including single and double continuous white lines and painted islands, to give the correct amount of space to the cyclist, but only when it is safe to do so, and when the driver has a clear view of oncoming traffic.

The penalty for contravening this law is $400 and 4 demerit points.

Legislation for passing safely has always existed in Western Australia, however, these amendments to the Road Traffic Code 2000 clarify the minimum distance a driver of a motor vehicle is required to keep between their vehicle and a bicycle.


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