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  1. What are the new rules? Minimum passing distance for motorists From 7 April 2014, by law, motorists must stay wider of the rider by giving: • a minimum of 1 metre when passing cyclists in a 60km/h or less speed zone; and • 1.5 metres where the speed limit is over 60km/h. From this date motorists can cross centre lines (including double unbroken centre lines), straddle lane-lines and drive on painted islands to pass cyclists, provided the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and it is safe to do so. These new road rules will initially be trialled over two years. This law is the first of its kind in Australia and will road-test the impact the rules have on saving lives. But what if I can’t give a metre? The purpose of this new rule is to give some clarity around a distance most people already provide when passing cyclists. The aim is also to make drivers more aware of cyclists. On the road though, you may sometimes find yourself in a situation where you are unsure of what to do. Always apply common sense, obey the rules and remember: 1. Check your surroundings and the cars around you 2. If it is safe to do so, indicate and pass the cyclist at the minimum distance 3. If not, slow down and wait until it is safe to pass. Fines for cyclists Responsible cycling means following the road rules. To encourage safer behaviour on our roads, cyclists who break the road rules will pay the same fines as motorists. Fines will also be increased for rules that are specific to cyclists. Cyclists who follow the road rules will not be affected by these changes. How did these new rules come about? A Queensland Parliamentary committee inquiry was conducted to determine how to improve interactions between motorists and cyclists, and the safety of cyclists on the road.The inquiry received numerous submissions from cycling and motoring groups and members of the public and made 68 recommendations to improve cyclist safety. The Queensland Government has committed to review all the recommendations. While this happens, the new minimum passing distances and equal fines for cyclists (relating to recommendations 8, 9, 14 and 31) have been expedited. These changes will bring immediate improvements from 7 April 2014 to the safety of cyclists on Queensland roads. For more information on the rules and to view the committee’s recommendations, visit http://www.qld.gov.au/gettingalong
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