Motorists in Australian state now face fines if they don't give cyclists sufficient room...

New South Wales has become the latest state in Australia to introduce a minimum passing distance law in a bid to cut the number of cyclists killed or injured on its roads.

New legislation passed today means that motorists will have to give cyclists at least 1 metre of space when overtaking them on roads with speed limits of up to 60 kilometres an hour, and 1.5 metres on roads with higher speed limits.

Drivers who fail to give sufficient space face fines of up to A$330 and lose two demerit points on their licence, reports 9 News.

Introduction of the new law follows a two-year trial which resulted in a 15 per cent reduction in cyclist casualties in collisions involving motor vehicles according to independent analysis conducted on behalf of the state government.

Some 81 per cent of cyclists responded favourably to the trial, as did 69 per cent of motorists and the initiative was hailed by the government as helping foster mutual respect between road users – something that has often been in short supply on the roads of New South Wales and other states in Australia.

Melinda Pavey, the state’s Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, said: “Cycling is an increasingly popular mode of transport and recreational activity, and this rule will help ensure the safety of all road users.

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.