by Matthew Dunn
FINALLY it appears the law is focusing on drivers as much as cyclists, with a motorist fined $400 and four demerit points after travelling too close to a bicycle rider.
In what is believed to be the first breach of Western Australia's new one metre passing rule, the driver of a Toyota LandCruiser was fined after an incident last Sunday.
The cyclist, who asked not to be named, said the vehicle encroached into the bicycle lane as it overtook him while travelling in a 70km/h zone.
"His vehicle was in the bike lane - completely unnecessary because he had two lanes of empty traffic which he could have used," he told Perth Now.
After voicing his anger at the close pass, the cyclist was confronted by the driver who had pulled over about 20m in front of him.
There was an angry exchange between the pair, which then led to another confrontation further down the road.
"I rode ahead and was about to cross back to the bike lane, but he came up the inside and then cut me across two lanes towards the centre," the cyclist said.
"Just as well there was no other traffic, as I would have been roadkill when he tried to run me into the middle."
Wanneroo police travelling in the opposite direction spotted the incident and issued an infringement to the driver, who gave the excuse he was "abused for nothing".
The cyclist said police gave him the option of attempted assault or breach of the one metre rule.
"I went for the latter as it needs reinforcing, even though apparently it is a lesser charge," he said.
The fine comes after legislation stipulating drivers must leave a gap of at least one metre when passing a cyclist at 60km/h or less or 1.5m when passing above 60km/h was introduced last Thursday.