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New South Wales introduces minimum passing distance law

The Government of New South Wales in Australia is set to implement the Minimum Passing Distance Rule in the state to improve safety of cyclists and drivers on state roads.

The rule, which underwent trials for two years, requires drivers to maintain at least a 1m distance with cyclists when the speed limit is 60km/h and below; and a minimum of 1.5m when the speed limit is more than 60km/h.

Any motorist found to break the rule will be charged with a fine of A$330 ($246) and two demerit points.

Pavey added: “Cycling is an increasingly popular mode of transport and recreational activity, and this rule will help ensure the safety of all road users.”

During the trials, 81% of the cyclists and 69% of the drivers supported the new rule.

The New South Wales Government recently announced an investment of A$70.9m ($52.9m) under its Safer Roads Program to reduce the number of incidents and road accidents in the state.

The funding will be used to carry out 180 vital safety upgrades in this year.

The Safer Roads Program involves re-engineering of dangerous curves, installation of rumble strips to alert drivers, deploying flexible wire rope barriers to avoid run-off-road and head-on crashes, as well as widening centre lines of the road across the state.

It also encompasses the usage of engineering treatments to decrease road accidents.

During the announcement, Pavey said: “Last year, 272 people killed on New South Wales roads were in the country, so this will go a long way to reduce the number of fatalities on regional roads.”

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