Overtaking Cyclists NSW

When driving a car on NSW roads there are certain rules and regulations that apply for overtaking cyclists safely. These rules need to be followed so that everyone that shares the road can stay safe. Failing to follow these regulations can result in a hefty fine and the loss of demerit points or the worst case scenario of an accident.


Overtaking cyclists NSW

Overtaking Cyclists NSW Rules

When overtaking a cyclist on NSW Roads the rule is that the driver of the vehicle needs to leave a minimum distance between the car and the cyclist. The distance the driver has to be away from the cyclist while overtaking is

  • 1 metre while passing on a road with a speed limit of 60 km/h or below.
  • If the roads speed limit is above 60 km/h, you must leave a distance of 1.5 m between the vehicle and the bicycle.

All drivers are required to leave a safe distance when overtaking or passing another vehicle. For heavy vehicles a safe distance may be greater than 1 metre or 1.5 metres.

Can you cross double lines to pass a cyclist

When passing a cyclist you can cross double lines provided it is safe. You need to be aware and have a clear view of any approaching traffic. You can only overtake and cross the white double lines when there is no vehicles coming towards you on the opposite side of the road and it is safe to do so.

Can you cross over unbroken lines to overtake a cyclist

Yes, road rules allow you to cross over unbroken lines to overtake a cyclist in NSW. Maintaining a safe passing distance when overtaking a bicycle rider is paramount to avoid these circumstances occurring to you.

Can you exceed the speed limit to overtake a cyclist

No you can not. When overtaking a cyclist you must definitely not exceed the speed limit or a fine will apply. In fact you should not have to accelerate to pass a bicycle rider as the speed they are travelling at is much slower than a vehicle. Waiting for a safe opportunity to pass at an acceptable speed is common sense.


overtaking cyclist nsw road rules

How do I leave a 1 metre gap if the cyclist is in the middle of the road

Cyclists are allowed to take up a full lane and even ride two abreast. In this case you have to treat them as if they were any another vehicle and overtake accordingly. Which means you still have to leave a safe gap and wait until it is safe to pass.

When the cyclist is in the middle of the road and takes up a full lane, you, the motorist overtakes just as if the bike rider was a motor vehicle. Of course you need to wait till there is an opportunity and no other cars are coming your way. Any chance you get to overtake is acceptable as long as it is safe and you follow the rules.

For more information on this topic please visit the Ministry of Transport road safety page.

Which road rule exemptions apply in order to leave a one to 1.5 metre gap?

Drivers will be exempt from the following rules, as long as they have a clear view of approaching traffic and it is safe to pass the bicycle rider to comply with the  minimum passing distance rule:

  • Keep to the left of the centre of the road (two-way road with no dividing line)
  • Stay to the left of the centre of a dividing line – broken and unbroken lines
  • Keep off a flat dividing strip i.e. one that is at the same level as the road
  • Keep off a flat painted island
  • Driving within a single marked lane or line of traffic, including at roundabouts
  • Moving from one marked lane to another across a continuous line separating the lanes.

What you should do when overtaking Cyclists

When overtaking or passing cyclists on NSW roads you must follow the rules, which have been established to keep everyone safe. Also, avoiding the loss of demerit points and fines should be in everyone’s best interest.

If it is safe and there are no cars coming towards you put your right blinker on. Pass the bike rider on the right side leaving the appropriate size gap. If the cyclist is riding in the middle of the road taking up a full lane or riders are riding two abreast stick with the rule that applies when overtaking another vehicle.

Most importantly make sure there is no approaching traffic coming your way and it is safe to overtake. Everyone sharing the roads is responsible for maintaining safety. Looking out for each other should be your number on priority.