Cyclists' one-metre rule backed by legal firm

Graphic: PAUL DORIN

Graphic: PAUL DORIN

The Illawarra Cycling Club president has welcomed a push from law firm Slater and Gordon encouraging motorists to maintain at least one metre between themselves and cyclists.

On Monday, the firm issued a press release stating it had experienced an almost 50 per cent rise in cycling accident inquiries in the past three years.

The findings came as Queensland introduced laws requiring cars to leave a minimum of one metre when passing cyclists in a 60km/h or less speed zone and at least 1.5 metres in zones that are higher than 60km/h.

On April 1, three ICC club members were hit and injured during a morning ride in Unanderra.

ICC president Phil Jones said the introduction of the law in NSW would "increase safety tenfold" for cyclists.

"I think it would give both cyclists and motorists an understanding that they need a bit of leeway and get motorists to understand how far a metre actually is in relation to their car," he said.

"I don't think motorists are generally aware of their surroundings outside their car.

"In this day and age too much is going on inside the car and there's not enough awareness of what's going on outside."

Mr Jones said distractions including mobile phones, GPS devices and radios were lowering motorists' awareness of what was happening on the road.

He said learner and P-plate drivers needed to be better educated on how to drive with cyclists on the road.

"I've been abused many times by P-platers," Mr Jones said.

"They don't have any idea about what you're allowed to do on the road.

"I couldn't tell you how many times I've been told I should be riding on the footpath."

Slater and Gordon senior motor vehicle accident lawyer Genevieve Henderson said both cyclists and motorists had a responsibility to be aware of each other on the road.

"One metre might not seem like much, but it could potentially save someone's life," she said.

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