Cyclist passing rule `must be mandatory'

Cyclists need protection and the 1.5 metre passing rule must be set in law, the Greens in New Zealand say.

Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter says police are failing to prosecute drivers who pass dangerously close to cyclists and there's a way to deal with that.

"Change the law to make the 1.5 metre passing rule mandatory so police will have to act," Genter said.

"Police prosecute only a tiny faction of these cases, suggesting cycle safety is a low priority for them."

Genter says the death of cyclist Jane Farrelly near Taupo last year is a case in point.

"Police decided not to prosecute the driver involved, saying it was `unrealistic' for a heavily laden vehicle to slow down before passing a group on bicycles safely," she said.

"Vulnerable road users like Jane Farrelly deserve better protection."

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