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"We are going to go the extra mile in the pursuit of saving lives," says transport minister Shane Ross...

Ireland’s transport minister has said that the government in Dublin will make a 1.5 metre minimum passing distance law on roads with a speed limit of more than 50 kilometres an hour.

On roads with speed limits of 50 kilometres an hour or less, a minimum passing distance of 1 metre will apply, reports StickyBottle.com.

The announcement by Shane Ross today follows lobbying by campaign groups including Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 for the legislation to be brought in.

It comes after a rise in the number of cyclists killed in the country with 15 people losing their lives last year, up 50 per cent from 2016.

“Clearly this is an intolerable situation which has to change,” Ross said. “Every life lost on our roads is a tragedy. And as Minister for Transport, I am committed to do everything within my power to prevent preventable road deaths.”

He continued: “If such awareness entails safer driving and fewer fatalities then it will be worth introducing the necessary legislation.”

According to StickyBottle.com, drivers breaking the law will face fines and have their driving licences endorsed with penalty points, and the legislation will be accompanied by an enforcement campaign by the Garda.

Ross’s announcement comes on a day when the country’s Road Safety Authority published a report recommending that instead of legislation being brought in, it was preferable to educate drivers about the need to pass cyclists safely.

The minister disagreed, however, saying: “It is not enough for me to say we simply just have an education campaign, my job is to introduce law and to make law.

“It is going to be done in the correct way by secondary legislation. We are going to go the extra mile in the pursuit of saving lives.”

He added: “We need more cyclists, we need less cars … If we make the roads a safer place there are likely to be more people getting out of their cars.”

While no timetable has been set for the law to be brought in, Ross said that the process of enacting the legislation would start straight away.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.