Cycling groups have expressed disappointment after new laws setting out a minimum distance for overtaking motorists will now not go ahead as planned.

The legislation would have made it an offence for a driver to pass a cyclist closer than 1.5 metres for roads where the speed limit is above 50km/h and 1m for areas where the limit is 50km/h or below.

The Department of Transport has confirmed that the previous proposal has been replaced following concerns raised by the Attorney General around enforcement issues.

Mike McKillen from cyclist.ie said he was disappointed the proposals were not going ahead as planned, saying it had been campaigned for for a number of years.

The Green Party called the decision a U-turn and said more needs to be done to make cyclists safer.

However Minister for Transport Shane Ross acknowledged the Attorney General's concerns and said that as a replacement, a new law would be brought in which will make dangerous overtaking, specifically of a cyclist, an offence.

He said that it is expected the new law would be ready in a matter of weeks.