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.

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Mike McKillen from 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.