The laws all motorists should be aware of when sharing the road with cyclists

 With the weekly bike traffic in South Australia has increased by 56 per cent over the last 10 years, there are a few laws all motorists should be aware of when it comes to sharing the road with cyclists.

Is there a specific distance that motorists need to maintain when passing a bicycle?

 Yes, in fact, it is an offence to fail to keep a ‘sufficient distance’ when overtaking a cyclist. ‘Sufficient distance’ is defined as the distance between the furthermost point to the right of the bike and the furthermost point to the left of the driver’s vehicle.

When travelling at 60km/h an hour and under, this distance is at least 1 metre.

When travelling over 60km/h the distance is 1.5 metres.

In order to comply with these rules, drivers are permitted to drive to the right of a dividing line when overtaking, provided they have a clear view of any approaching traffic and can do so safely.

The penalty for drivers who fail to adhere to this law will incur a $287 fine, a $60 victims of crime levy and 2 demerit points.

Can motorists drive in the bike lane?

 As a general rule, the answer is no—but there are some exceptions:

Other road users are permitted to use the bike lane when:

  • The bike lane is not in operation
  • Stopping in an emergency
  • Entering or leaving the road from a private property or private area, including a parking lane or another road (only for up to 50 metres)
  • Overtaking a vehicle turning right or making a U-turn (only for up to 50 metres)
  • Avoiding an obstruction (only for up to 50 metres)
  • Driving a bus or taxi picking up or dropping off passengers (only for up to 50 metres)

Motorists who drive in a bicycle lane for reasons other than the above exceptions will incur a $245 fine and will be required to pay an additional $60 victims of crime levy. Motorists who stop in a bicycle lane will be subject to the same penalty.

This article has been written by Andersons Solicitors Law Clerk, Julia Arena and settled by Senior Partner, Dion McCaffrie.

Photo by Eduardo Enrietti on Unsplash