DfT planning new road rules concerning minimum distance for overtaking cyclists

Drivers may have to adhere to a recommended passing distance if the proposal is passed

 
The Department for Transport (DfT) are looking into new road rules concerning minimum distance for overtaking cyclists and if passed, drivers may have to adhere to a recommended passing distance.

Currently as stated in the Highway Code, drivers must give cyclists “plenty” of space and “at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car”, however ministers in the past have said they were “interested” in the introduction of a mandatory minimum passing distance.

The minimum passing distance rule was introduced in South Africa and UK ministers “remain interested in the change and are keeping it under review.”

Drivers may have to adhere to a recommended passing distance if the proposal is passed

DfT planning new road rules concerning minimum distance for overtaking cyclists © Copyright David Hawgood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

‘Operation Velo’ was launched in Cambridgeshire in February this year and a passing distance of 1.5 metres was recommended. As part of the operation, police officers took to bicycles to patrol the roads and catch drivers who were not giving cyclists enough space.

Motorists who failed to give cyclists enough room faced fines of up to £100 and three penalty points on their licence for careless driving.

Another danger for cyclists is drivers opening their car doors without looking to see if a cyclist is on the road. In the Netherlands, drivers use the ‘Dutch Reach’ to make sure they open their car doors safely – the driver uses their hand furthest away from the door to open it, forcing them to look over their shoulder for cyclists who might be passing by.

In the UK, around 100 cyclists are killed every year, whilst 3,000 are left seriously injured.

“We are determined to make cycling safer and easier across the country, and we are continuing to invest. Today we’re announcing an investment of £100,000 each in 3 innovative cycle safety projects, in addition to the recent £7 million of funding to improve cycle safety,” said cycling minister Jesse Norman.

 

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