New legislation aimed at protecting cyclists on the roads has been hailed as a step in the right direction.

From midnight the dangerous overtaking of cyclists will incur a fixed charge fine of up to €120 and a minimum of three penalty points.

The new regulations state "a driver shall not overtake or attempt to overtake if to do so would endanger or cause inconvenience to a pedal cyclist."

The Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority has said the new legislation is a "step in the right direction". 

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, Moyagh Murdock said cyclists are a vulnerable group of road-users, and that this will "hopefully" result in an "improvement in road safety".

Ms Murdock said "The outcomes are much worse for anybody on a bike if they have to take some sort of manoeuvre to get out of the way of an inconsiderate motorist

Meanwhile, Ciara Clark of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said the organisation wanted a minimum passing law, such as the "staying alive at 1.5 metres" law.

Ms Murdoch said the RSA had "deliberately moved away from having a specified distance" in the law because it would be "too complex" and "difficult to enforce".

Despite this, Ms Clark said cyclists were more than happy to welcome a law that protects cyclists from dangerous overtaking.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Clark echoed the RSA's sentiment that cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users.

She said: "Cyclists are vulnerable, a cyclist is a very tiny person on a very tiny piece of machinery, and a car is a big soundproof box of steel, so they have got to make provision for the space on the road and just become aware... I am pleading today with motorists to do the enforcing themselves to just slow down and create a bit of space."

She said in the past number of days she has experienced dangerous overtaking on a number of occasions, and said it happens to cyclists all the time.

Ms Clark said a driver will not see why cyclists will occasionally be forced to move slightly outward on the roads due to poor conditions, and will swerve out to overtake them dangerously.

She said motorists do not behave well, while "some" cyclists do not behave well, but said she was not condoning bad behaviour on any side.