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One metre makes a difference: lawyer urges motorists to give cyclists space on the road

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Media Release

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A Slater and Gordon lawyer is urging NSW motorists to allow at least a one metre gap when overtaking cyclists on the road after the firm saw an almost 50 per cent rise in cycling accident enquiries.

Senior motor vehicle accident lawyer Genevieve Henderson said the increase in enquiries to the firm’s NSW offices were over the last three years and mostly related to cycling accidents involving cars.

“Both cyclists and motorists have a responsibility to be aware of each other on the road if we want to see a reduction in these incidents,” Ms Henderson said.

“While motorists should exercise a greater level of vigilance given the relative damage a car can cause, cyclists should also make sure they are following the road rules.

“Motorists can reduce the risk of colliding with bicycles by ensuring they leave at least a one metre gap when they overtake a cyclist on the road.

“One metre might not seem like much, but it could potentially save someone’s life.”

Ms Henderson said it was promising to see that NSW Transport would monitor the new laws which took effect in Queensland today which require 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.

“It will be very interesting to see if enforcement of this rule in Queensland will have an effect on drivers’ behaviour and whether it could be introduced in NSW,” Ms Henderson said.

“Cyclists involved in these types of accidents can suffer greatly, not just physically, but the emotional and financial costs can also be significant.”

President of Sydney Uni Velo Cycling Club, Craig Gibbons, supported the firm’s appeal and said his club’s members took their responsibility for sharing the roads seriously.

“As road users, we are working to balance our safe use of public roads with minimal disruption to motorists,” Mr Gibbons said.

“It is clear that the consequences of a collision between motor vehicle and cyclist can be devastating for all parties – we thank all motorists who are patient, wait for a safe point to pass and allow a minimum of 1m gap when overtaking.”