Driver sentenced for reckless driving after dangerously overtaking cyclists

Police Lights

A 40-year-old man from Launceston has been disqualified from driving for two months and given a fine of $2,000 after pleading guilty to reckless driving and failing to maintain a safe distance when passing a bicycle rider.

He appeared in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Monday, over an incident on Pateena Road at Longford last August.

The incident involved three cyclists, a 16-year-old and two adults, who were riding east on a straight piece of road commonly known as the โ€˜Flying Mileโ€™.

At the time traffic was light and there was sufficient space for the small group to be overtaken safely. 

The driver vehicle overtook the cyclists at about 80 to 90 km/h and failed to pass them at the minimum distance of 1.5 metres. He sounded his horn as he approached and was estimated to be just 30-40cm to the right of them as he overtook.

Fortunately, no injuries were caused, and the riders reported the matter with video footage of the incident.

Police would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists of the requirements when overtaking a cyclist or group of cyclists:

  • passing distance of at least 1 metre, if the speed limit is below 60 km/h;
  • passing distance of at least 1.5 metres, if the speed limit is above 60 km/h;
  • Drivers of vehicles can also cross over solid white dividing lines if the driver has a clear view of approaching traffic, it is necessary and reasonable, and the driver can do it safely.
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