How to Report Minimum Passing Distance Incidents – A Step-by-Step Guide

Examples of photo evidence for minimum passing distance infringement, courtesy of John Hawkins
Photos courtesy of John Hawkins
Capture of a still screen from cycliq camera
Measurements for mandatory passing distance

This downloadable procedure has been written by Bicycle NSW subsequent to the meetings held with Police and Transport for NSW throughout 2016. It was agreed that a procedure should be put in place whereby photo and video evidence of a possible Minimum Passing Distance (MPD) offence can be presented to Police for action.

It should be noted:

  • This is NOT a procedure for NSW Police. It is a suggested set of actions for bicycle riders to undertake in the incidence of a close pass.
  • The level of proof required by NSW Police to issue an infringement is high, ie Beyond Reasonable Doubt. This is much higher than the “Balance of Probabilities” test, and therefore the opinion of a rider is not sufficient proof. There has to be some measurable proof that the MPD has been infringed.

This Step-by-Step Guide features 4 steps:

  1. Initial Actions
  2. Report the Incident
  3. Follow Up
  4. Bicycle NSW Review
Download the current version of the Step-by-Step Guide for use in preparing for and reporting Minimum Passing Distance breaches.

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Bicycle NSW continues participate in Transport for NSW’s "Bicycle Rider Communications Working Group" which meets on a semi regular basis. Representatives from the Amy Gillett Foundation have also attended these working group meetings, and the NRMA and Cycling NSW have been invited to participate.

A series of informational articles will be prepared to further educate bike riders on actions they can take to ensure they can assist in the further enforcement of the Minimum Passing Distance legislation.

The Minimum Passing Distance legislation is contained within Road Rule 144-1. This rule is an additional NSW rule. There is no corresponding rule in the Australian Road Rules.

The NSW Government will continue to produce and make available materials and campaigns to educate all road users on the current laws and how they apply to their mode of transport.

NSW State Government Go Together campaign video

Rule 144–1 NSW rule: keeping a safe distance when passing bicycle rider

(1) The driver of a motor vehicle driving past to the right of a bicycle that is travelling on a road in the same direction as the motor vehicle must pass the bicycle at a safe distance from the bicycle.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

(2) A safe distance from the bicycle is:
(a) if the speed limit applying to the driver of the motor vehicle for the length of the road is not more than 60 kilometres per hour—a distance of at least 1 metre, or
(b) if the speed limit applying to the driver of the motor vehicle for the length of the road is more than 60 kilometres per hour—a distance of at least 1.5 metres,

measured laterally from the furthest right side of the bicycle to the furthest left side of the motor vehicle or any part of the vehicle (including anything attached to or projecting from the vehicle).

(3) For the purposes of subrule (2), bicycle includes any bicycle trailer towed by the bicycle, the rider or any passenger on the bicycle or in or on the trailer and any basket or pannier bags attached to the bicycle or trailer, but does not include any flag or stick (whether or not flexible) attached to and projecting sideways from the bicycle or trailer.

Rule 144–2   NSW rule: exceptions for passing bicycle rider

(1)  The driver of a motor vehicle driving past to the right of a bicycle that is travelling on a road in the same direction as the motor vehicle may, if it is necessary in order to comply with rule 144–1 while passing the bicycle, do any of the following but only if the driver can do so safely and has a clear view of any approaching traffic:

(a)  if the driver is driving on a two-way road without a dividing line or median strip—drive to the right of the centre of the road,
(b)  if the driver is driving on a road with a dividing line—drive to the right of the dividing line,
(c)  drive:
(i)  on a dividing strip that is at the same level as the road, or
(ii)  on or over a single continuous line, or 2 parallel continuous lines, along a side of or surrounding a painted island,
(d)  if the driver is driving on a multi-lane road—drive so that the driver’s vehicle is not completely in a marked lane,
(e)  if the driver is driving on a road with 2 or more lines of traffic travelling in the same direction as the driver, but without marked lanes—drive so that the driver’s vehicle is not completely in a single line of traffic,
(f)  if the driver is driving on a multi-lane road—move from one marked lane to another marked lane across a continuous line separating the lanes.

 

Read the Rules in full:  http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/regulation/2014/758