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New cycling laws challenge truck drivers: NTRTA

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Victoria will be the only state or territory in Australia without Wider of the rider laws to protect cyclists once the Northern Territory introduces the minimum passing distance laws next month.Under the laws motorists and heavy vehicle operators travelling over 60 kph are required to leave a passing distance of at least 1.5 metres.

While the Northern Territory has the highest rate of cycling participation in the country NT Road Transport Association Executive Officer Louise Bilato said the tighter spatial allocation would present problems for commercial vehicle drivers.

According to Bilato roadtrain operators already gave as much space as possible to cyclists when passing in the Northern Territory without endangering the lives of other road users coming their way.

"That it is now a defined space, it is going to be a challenge," she told the ABC.

Bilato also acknowledged criticism of cyclists who chose freight routes favoured by transport companies over purpose-built cycling paths created at great cost to local Government.

"The guys have also made a very good point about the cycle paths that have been built in Darwin," she said.

"The cost of those is very significant and the Northern Territory Government has made some real commitments to extending those cycle paths, but these weekend warriors in Lycra don't want to use them."

According to a release on the Road Safety NT website, the rule, which is effective 1 August, is intended to improve safety by providing more space for everyone – "particularly in the event a cyclist has to move suddenly to avoid a hazard. Most states and territories have implemented, or are trialling, this road rule."

Cycling advocacy group, Bicycle Network, hopes that these changes will add further pressure on the Victorian Government to join the other states and territories and introduce minimum passing distance laws.

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