According to the Australian Road Rules, a minimum gap of 1 metre should be kept between a motor vehicle and a bicycle rider when passing in speed zones up to 60km/h. When the speed limit is above 60km/h, the minimum gap increases to 1.5 metres. This rule was introduced in 2016 in order to improve safety for cyclists on the roads.

Based on the speed limit, how much of a gap should you leave when passing the bicycle rider in Australia
Based on the speed limit, how much of a gap should you leave when passing the bicycle rider in Australia?

The one metre gap is also known as the “safe passing distance” and it is meant to give enough space for both the motor vehicle and the bicycle rider to safely navigate the road. This requirement applies not only when overtaking a bicycle rider, but also when travelling alongside them. This means that drivers are expected to maintain the safe passing distance at all times, not just when making a pass.

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But why is it important to have this gap in the first place? And how can both motor vehicle drivers and bicycle riders ensure that this rule is followed for the safety of all road users?

Firstly, having a minimum gap between motor vehicles and bicycle riders helps to prevent accidents and collisions. Cyclists are much more vulnerable on the roads, especially when sharing the space with larger and faster vehicles. By keeping a safe distance, drivers give cyclists enough room to manoeuvre in case of unexpected events such as potholes or debris on the road.

In addition, having a minimum gap also helps to reduce the risk of dooring incidents. This refers to situations where a driver or passenger of a parked car opens their door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist. By giving enough space, drivers can avoid causing harm to cyclists and themselves.

So what can both drivers and cyclists do to ensure that the safe passing distance is maintained? Firstly, it is important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to pay attention to the presence of cyclists on the road. This means checking mirrors and blind spots before making a turn or changing lanes.

Drivers should also be patient when approaching a cyclist and only overtake when it is safe to do so, leaving enough space as required by the law. It is important not to underestimate the speed at which cyclists can travel, especially on downhill sections.

On the other hand, cyclists can also contribute to their own safety by following road rules and being predictable in their movements. This includes staying to the left of the road, using hand signals when turning or changing lanes, and wearing appropriate safety gear such as helmets and reflective clothing.


In conclusion, maintaining a minimum gap between motor vehicles and bicycle riders is crucial for ensuring the safety of all road users. It is the responsibility of both drivers and cyclists to be aware of and adhere to this rule at all times. By doing so, we can create a safer and more harmonious environment for everyone on the roads.

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