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London Cycling Campaign asking government for clearer guidance and a public education campaign

London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has launched its Stay Wider of the Rider campaign with this video of the Brownlee brothers. ‘Not everyone should be this close’ runs the tagline as the charity seeks to raise public awareness of the dangers of motorists passing cyclists too closely.

Alistair Brownlee said: “Jonny and I both drive cars as well, and obviously ride our bikes an awful lot. Just take care. Remember when driving, as I do, that you're in a metal box and a cyclist doesn't have that protection around them, so it's really important to leave as big a gap as possible.”

Our Near Miss of the Day feature shows what a common occurrence close passes are. In a survey of 3,000 LCC members and supporters, two thirds said they regularly faced risks from close passing, while 23 per cent said it happened every time they cycled.

The Stay Wider of the Rider campaign – which is sponsored by Continental Tyres and Uber Eats – comes after Transport Minister Jesse Norman on Friday announced two measures to try and combat the problem: £500,000 funding for a pilot scheme to improve driving instructors’ cycle safety awareness, together with more resources to help police to crack down on close passes.

The campaign’s staywider.org website includes an online map for cyclists to log close passes. There’s also an online petition to Norman which calls for:

  • Support for every police force to run close pass operations
  • A major public education campaign
  • Clearer guidance on safe passing distances

The Highway Code states that drivers should leave the same distance as if they were passing another car when overtaking a cyclist (advice half of drivers are unaware of).

Both the LCC and Continental are going further that this, urging drivers to leave a minimum of 1.5m at 30mph, 2m at faster speeds and never less than 1m in slow-moving urban traffic (below 20mph).

Tom Bogdanowicz, Senior Policy and Development Officer of the London Cycling Campaign, said: “While it’s good to see the government beginning to take action, deterrence won’t be enough to tackle close passing. What we urgently need is a far wider campaign to raise awareness among millions of drivers just how dangerous close passing is. That’s what Stay Wider of the Rider can achieve.

“LCC has successfully campaigned for Dutch-quality cycling infrastructure for many years, but even in Holland a huge proportion of cycling still takes place on non-segregated roads where drivers and cyclists need to share road space. LCC will continue to campaign for more protected space for cycling, but we need initiatives like Stay Wider of the Rider to help educate drivers and reduce road danger for cyclists.”

Mark Griffiths, Safety Expert at Continental Tyres, said: “Earlier this year we launched our own Sharing the Road campaign as a branch of our Vision Zero Initiative which aims for zero fatalities, zero injuries and zero accidents on the road.

“As a committed partner of events like Prudential Ride London, we believe it is crucial that drivers and cyclists can be safe side-by-side when travelling. Research we carried out showed three out of five car drivers, pedestrians and cyclists and nearly eight out of 10 lorry drivers believed training for road users should include more on awareness and consideration for other types of road users so we welcome the Government's new pilot for driving instructors but would hope this becomes compulsory in the future.

“Initiatives such as the Stay Wider of the Rider campaign reaffirm the idea of how we can raise much-needed awareness to ultimately keep every road user safe.”

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