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Even though the holidays are over, it is still a season of sharing with the implementation of new rules in Queensland starting January 1, 2015 that give cyclists a little more freedom on the road. It is important that Queensland road users are aware of these new rules in order to avoid miscommunication and frustration between cyclists and motor vehicle users. A summary of these new road rules are as follows:

Bicycle Lanes

A cyclist can choose whether or not they would like to ride in a bicycle lane where available. Usage of these lanes is no longer mandatory and is consistent with the rules for other special purpose lanes (e.g. buses are not obliged to use bus lanes and drivers do not have to use transit lanes)

Zebra and Children’s Crossings

A cyclist can now ride across a zebra or children’s crossing as long as they completely stop prior to doing so. They will then have to proceed slowly and safely, as well as give way to any pedestrians sharing the crossing. They must also keep to the left of any other oncoming cyclists and people using personal mobile devices.

Roundabouts

Cyclists no longer have to ride on the far left side of the road on a single lane roundabout. They are allowed to ride on any part of the road that is appropriate for their point of exit on that single lane roundabout.

Minimum Passing Distance

Motorists that wish to pass a cyclist must provide a minimum passing distance as follows:

–          Minimum passing distance of 1m if the speed limit is 60km/hr or less

–          Minimum passing distance of 1.5m if the speed limits is over 60km/hr

Other road rules have been changed to accommodate this rule such as allowing motorists to cross center lines, straddle lane lines or drive on painted traffic islands in order to safely pass cyclists.

Safe and Responsible Sharing of the Road

It is important that both motorists and cyclists are aware of the new changes in the road rules because ignorance of the law is not an excuse that will hold up if someone causes an accident.

It is understandable that some motorists may be frustrated at the implementation of these new rules. However, a little patience while driving will go a long way to ultimately prevent an accident and allow all vehicle users to equally enjoy the road.

You can find out more about the new road rules here.