ONE metre may be insignificant to most of us.
To a cyclist, it is the difference between life and death.
The legislation, expected to launch in April, is a step towards keeping cyclists safe and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.
Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson last year committed to trialling the new laws after a parliamentary report submitted 68 recommendations.
"This is the first major examination of cycling laws in more than two decades and I thank the committee for its efforts in travelling across the state and consulting widely with the community," Mr Emerson said.
"I will take the next few months to consider the full report but I will be supporting recommendation 8, or the so-called one-metre rule."
The one-metre rule, as it has been dubbed, will see motorists who do not abide by the laws fined up to $4400 and eight demerit point if committee recommendations are to be followed.
Minister Emerson said the road speed and conditions would vary the distance regulation, and formally regulate cyclists as road users.
"Motorists must maintain a minimum distance of one metre when passing a cyclist in a 60kph or less zone, and 1.5m when travelling above 60," he said.
"I'll also support recommendation 31 - bringing fines for cyclists into line with those imposed on motorists. For example, currently the fine for entering a level crossing with a train approaching is $110 for cyclists and $330 for motorists."
Queensland will be the first Australian state to trial the new legislation, for an initial period of two years.
The move, heavily endorsed by cycling communities, will be monitored over the 24-month period to evaluate effectiveness, enforceability and the impact on all road users.
Laws will protect riders
CYCLISTS will feel safer with the knowledge that laws exist to protect them.
Garry Hill, a local cycling enthusiast, says the one-metre rule will go the extra distance to protect those who hold a passion for riding.
"Most drivers do the right thing as it is," he said.
"The law won't affect those that do. It definitely makes us feel safer on the road."
Legislation will formally recognise the rights cyclists possess on the road, as well as enforcing penalties upon cyclists who do not abide by relevant road rules.
I believe that everyone who goes for their licence should be educated about how to drive safely around cyclists.
Mr Hill, who rides an average of 250-400km every week, admits that most cyclists can recount stories of being nudged or squeezed while partaking in the hobby they love.
"You take it as part of cycling and it shouldn't be like that," he said.
"Most drivers are excellent, however. Cyclists should be policed for doing the wrong thing too."
The key objectives of the legislation include bridging the relationship for all road users, promoting a healthy lifestyle and enforcing a legal framework to armour the most vulnerable yet equally justified users of the road.
Describing biking as an addictive lifestyle, David Macintosh from The Bicycle Centre said the laws were overdue.
"I think it is fantastic," he said.
"I believe that everyone who goes for their licence should be educated about how to drive safely around cyclists.
"We are just doing what we love to do."
One Metre Matters
- Recognises bicycle riders are physically vulnerable and need protection
- Provides drivers with a recognisable measure when overtaking bicycle riders
- Is enforceable by law
- Improves safety
- Acknowledges cyclists as legitimate road users
- Reduce rider fatalities and injuries