Driver Knowledge Tests

What are the rules for overtaking cyclists?

Laws vary from state-to-state. In New South Wales the minimum distance to leave is one metre when the speed zone is 60km/h or less and 1.5 metres when it’s in a higher speed zone. This compares with a blanket 1.5m in New Zealand and the UK.

When it’s safe to do so, motorists can:

  • Cross a no-passing centre dividing line to overtake cyclists safely
  • Drive on painted islands
  • Drive on dividing strips and median strips

If it’s not safe to pass, motorists must wait until it is safe to pass.

These rules have been used in Queensland since 2014. Similar measures were introduced in the ACT and South Australia in 2016 and Tasmania in 2015.

Cyclists are under no obligation to leave one metre when they pass a car, although most would as the risk of being ‘car-doored‘ is high.

What are the penalties for not leaving enough room when overtaking a cyclist?

If you are caught then you will receive two demerit points and a fine of $319.

Sharrows, cycle route and cycle lane markings

Sharrows indicate a shared lane for cyclists and vehicles.

Sharrows can point right, left or straight ahead

Cycle signs are sometimes painted on busy cycle routes to warn motorists. Cyclists and motorists have the same rights on these lanes.

Cycle lanes have different rules. Motorised vehicles are not allowed to drive in cycle lanes unless to cross them to get into a driveway or to park.


Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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