On the 7th of April 2014 the Queensland Government introduced new laws governing the minimum passing distance of bicycle riders for motorists as part of their “stay wider of the rider” campaign. The law now requires motorists to give a minimum of 1 meter when passing cyclists in a 60km/hr or less speed zone and at least 1.5 metres where the speed limit exceeds 60kms/hr. Failing to adhere to these laws will result in a fine of $330.00 and a loss of 3 demerit points.
The new laws will also affect cyclists, with penalties for breaking the road rules increased to match those of motorists. Previously cyclists were only fined $110.00 for breaking a road rule. This has now increased to $330.00, in line with the penalty imposed upon motorists.
The new laws are designed to keep bicycle riders safer on our roads and to promote road safety for all road users. But will these new laws be able to be adequately and fairly enforced for motorists? Queensland police are already sceptical of the new laws and how they are to be enforced. While fining cyclists under the new laws will be a straight forward process, fining motorists for not keeping the minimum required distance will far more challenging as the exact distance within which a motorist passed a cyclist will not be known and be based upon estimation. So will these new laws achieve their purpose?
Numerous accidents happen on Queensland roads each year involving motor vehicles and bicycles. So what should happen when an accident does occur and what are your options?
A person injured on our roads, whether that person is a cyclist, pedestrian, passenger in a vehicle, or the driver of a vehicle not at fault, have the right to bring a claim for personal injury suffered as a result against the CTP Insurer of the “at fault” vehicle.
By bringing a claim the injured person is entitled to receive reasonable and immediate treatment and rehabilitation for their injuries funded by the CTP Insurer. They also have the right to pursue compensation for their injuries that includes for pain and suffering, loss of income past and future, loss of superannuation benefits, be reimbursed for monies already paid out in connection with the accident, and any costs they will incur into the future.
Claims for injured cyclists are often much more complicated as often the driver of the at fault vehicle does not remain at the scene, or is unknown to the injured party. Much stricter time frames apply so early advice is a must.
To assist the process in bringing a personal injury claim the accident will need to be brought to the attention of the police. This can be done by the police attending the scene of the accident or by reporting the accident to the closest police station to where the accident occurred. If the police do not attend the scene and the accident is reported to them then it is important that the injured person obtain all of the details of the other party involved in the accident including their name, address, telephone number, registration number and make and model of the vehicle they were driving.
If either party were injured on their way to or from work they may also be entitled to claim workers compensation benefits from WorkCover Queensland. A workers compensation lawyer will be able to help you further with this type of claim.
A compensation lawyer can assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome. Time limits do apply so it is important that you seek the advice of a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
The new laws with respect to the minimum passing distance by motorists are set to be trialled for 2 years.
For more information on road accident related injuries click here:
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