New 'safe passing rules' have been announced by the state government

The state government have announced better protection for cyclists, with the introduction of minimum safe passing rules.

The new rules, announced by Road Safety minister Michelle Roberts, will be effective from November 30 and are designed to ensure both motorists and cyclists are able to share the road safely.

The safe passing rules will require drivers passing a cyclist to be at a minimum distance of one metre on a road with a speed limit less than 60 kilometres per hour and 1.5 metres for speeds more than 60 kilometres per hour.

The announcement comes after the state government allocated $129 million funding in the 2017-18 state budget to building 95 kilometres of cycling paths.

Ms Roberts said the rules would provide clear guidance on what was required to pass a cyclist safely and encourage mutual respect shown by motorists and cyclists sharing the road.

“Tragically, seven cyclists have been killed on our roads already this year,” she said.

“Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road users and these new rules are designed to provide greater protection and hopefully reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths.”

Western Australia will now join New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania in implementing the laws.

The laws have operated in Queensland for several years after a trial proved the law led to safer outcomes for cyclists.

Drivers caught contravening the new law will face penalties of up to $400 and four demerit points.

Under the new rules, drivers will be permitted to cross centre lane markings on roads, including double white lines, to ensure an appropriate passing distance if it is deemed safe to do so.

The Road Safety Commission will evaluate and monitor the new rules, providing a report within two years.

This story New rules to protect cyclists first appeared on The Esperance Express.