Did you know you could cross double lines to pass a cyclist?

SEEING DOUBLE: Motorists are now allowed to cross double white lines in order to keep a safe distance from cyclists on the road. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
SEEING DOUBLE: Motorists are now allowed to cross double white lines in order to keep a safe distance from cyclists on the road. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

RUNNING late for work and you're stuck behind a cyclist on a straight stretch of road and the only thing stopping you from overtaking is an inconvenient pair of white lines?

Well, our friends in blue have now revealed you may legally break a white line or double white lines to go around an obstacle on the roadway, provided it is safe to do so.

The NewsMail published a story last Thursday about Bundaberg police investigating video footage sent in from cyclists who have captured near-misses involving cars driving too close and overtaking without leaving the appropriate distance for safety.

Police confirmed they would be investigating footage received and taking necessary action if the drivers were found to be at fault.

The article attracted almost 80 comments from readers who raised many interesting questions, including how a driver can safely pass a bike rider on double white lines without crossing them, and could a "commonsense" approach be applied in that situation.

Bundaberg Police Traffic Branch officer in charge Sergeant Marty Arnold responded to these questions and confirmed passing a cyclist or other obstacle while crossing the lines was technically legal.

"Common sense should be applied that if it is unsafe to pass then you must treat a bicycle like a vehicle and wait until its safe to pass," he said.

"However, you should not have to substantially cross the lines to safely manoeuvre around a rider - only enough to give them the safe 1m spacing and return to your lane once you have passed."

Sgt Arnold stressed motorists should only considering breaking the white lines only if it is safe to do so and for the minimum amount of time required.

"Common sense should also be exercised by bike riders on narrow shoulders also, and keep as far left as practicable to aid vehicles to pass safely," he said.

"So, to make it clear, if there is no oncoming traffic you can safely cross the line for a brief period to go around an obstacle."

Topics:  cyclists editors picks police traffic

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