Overtaking other vehicles can be dangerous. The difficulty with overtaking is judging the space required to complete the action safely.
Drivers must give bicycle riders at least a metre of space
The minimum passing distance rule helps ensure bicycle riders and motorists remain safe when sharing our roads. Everyone needs to respect each other’s space to ensure we all stay safe.
Drivers passing a bicycle rider must allow a distance of at least:
- 1 metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less
- 1.5 metres when the speed limit is more than 60km/h
The information given in this section is a guide only and is subject to change at any time without notice.
This information is also available in the Road Users Handbook.
You can access the full text of the NSW Road Rules on the NSW Legislation website.
Both single lane and multi-lane overtaking involves risk and requires extreme care. If you have any doubts, don’t overtake and wait until it is safer.
When overtaking you must:
- make sure the road ahead is clear and that there is sufficient space for you to successfully overtake (check side streets and other lanes to ensure nothing will enter this space while you are overtaking)
- signal each change in position long enough to give sufficient warning to others
- check mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles and other vehicles before changing your lane position
- give way to traffic already in the lane you are moving into
- pass the vehicle with sufficient space to avoid a collision (you should be able to see the vehicle you have overtaken in your rear vision mirror before you move in front of it)
- Not go over the speed limit
Unless you’re a bicycle rider, the only time you can overtake a vehicle on the left is when it is safe to do so and when the vehicle is:
- waiting to turn right or make a U-turn
- travelling in a marked lane
You must not overtake:
- unless you have a clear view of approaching traffic and you can successfully overtake safely (do not commence overtaking when approaching a crest, curve or any limited vision situation)
- a vehicle coming to a stop or a vehicle that has stopped at a pedestrian crossing, intersection or railway crossing
- across an unbroken (continuous) line, unless the line closest to you is broken
- where a road narrows
On roads with a speed limit of more than 80 km/h, or where there is a KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING sign, you must not drive in the right lane unless:
- turning right
- legally making a U-turn
- there is a left lane must turn left sign or left lane traffic arrow
- avoiding an obstruction
- marked lanes are congested
- the right lane is a special purpose lane allowing the lane use
- the left lane has a slow vehicle making a left turn
When being overtaken you must:
- not increase your speed
- keep left and allow reasonable space for the overtaking vehicle to pass and move back into the lane
- keep within your lane
For information on misunderstood road rules visit the Centre for Road Safety website
You must not overtake or pass other vehicles on pedestrian or school crossings.
Take special care when overtaking large, long and oversize vehicles.