Cyclists welcome new laws

Cyclists welcome new laws

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A Jandakot cyclist said he was glad cars now need to keep at least one metre when overtaking riders.

A Jandakot road cyclist has welcomed new vehicle overtaking laws designed to protect bike riders.

Since November 30 drivers of vehicles on West Australian roads 60 kilometres per hour or less have to keep at least one metre from cyclists when overtaking.

On roads with a speed limit greater than 60 kilometres per hour, drivers need to keep 1.5 metres distance when overtaking.

Failing to do so can incur a $400 fine and four demerit points.

Mark Pearmine, 50, has been riding socially on the road for about ten years and said he and his fellow riders were glad they could expect drivers to leave a generous distance when overtaking.

“Any bit of help, any law which can make us a bit safer, will make us happier,” he said.

Mr Pearmine said he believed most drivers had welcomed the change, and the people who were vocally opposed were in the minority.

“I ride in a lot of groups, and we share the road wherever possible,” he said.

In defence of criticisms that cyclists often hogged the road, Mr Pearmine said in his experience riders would often cycle side-by-side in areas where it would be unsafe for vehicles to overtake, including where there are refuge islands in the middle of the road or while approaching an intersection.

“When it comes to a wide section we’ll skinny up into single file and share the road,” he said.

On December 3 Wanneroo police picked up one of the first drivers penalised under the new laws.

The Toyota Landcruiser driver said he closely passed the cyclist because the cyclist had acted aggressively toward him, but police dealt him the maximum fine and demerit point penalty.