Like this site? Help us to make it better.

One in three drivers don’t give cyclists enough space when passing claims survey

Cycling Scotland also finds that two thirds of motorists aren't aware of penalties for close passes...

One in three motorists do not give cyclists sufficient space when overtaking and are unaware of the penalties for failing to do so, according to Cycling Scotland.

The national cycling organisation is urging motorists to give bike riders at least 1.5 metres space, with its campaign coinciding with the clocks going back yesterday.

It also comes ahead of a consultation into proposed changes to the Highway Code closing tomorrow, with a number of cycling organisations urging that a 1.5 metre minimum passing distance being incorporated.

Currently, Rule 163 of the Highway Code says that drivers should “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.”

Cycling Scotland also found that nearly two in three drivers, 64 per cent, were not aware that a close pass on a cyclist could result in their licences being endorsed with three penalty points,

That’s despite a number of police forces throughout the UK, including Police Scotland, regularly mounting patrols to tackle motorists who overtake cyclists too closely.

Originally pioneered by West Midlands Police’s road policing unit which launched its award-winning Operation Close Pass in September 2016, such initiatives have since been rolled out by police forces across the country.

Typically, a plain-clothes officer on a bike will radio ahead to uniformed colleagues when a driver has made a close pass, with the motorist then stopped and educated about the correct distance to allow with the help of a ‘close pass’ mat, many of which were supplied to forces following a successful crowdfunding campaign by the charity Cycling UK.

In cases of particularly poor overtaking, or where the motorist refuses to be educated by officers, drivers can also be referred for prosecution.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


LetsBePartOfThe... | 3 years ago

"not aware that a close pass on a cyclist could result in their licences being endorsed with three penalty points"

How about primarily being aware that it causes danger and intimidation to the cyclist. Is it only the risk of penalty points that gets their attention? Whereas them causing fear to a human being doesn't even register?

macbaby replied to LetsBePartOfTheSolution | 3 years ago

The 1.5m does not cover long vehicles or those that are towing trailers slewing back directly in front of one after overtaking. There is also a significant fear factor if that type of manuevre is carried out too soon, usually because of insuffient time to overtake safely

duc888 | 3 years ago

1 in 3 drivers are just fat f....s, which kind of means they are used to taking up more space in their daily lives, so width perception is difficult and extends to when they are sat in a moving weapon and think they are squeezing through a tight gap, which to a normal person isn't.  1

brooksby | 3 years ago
1 like

What was the name of that wonderful PR exercise the scottish police did a few years ago about close passing?  I lose track on whether that was "Be nice" or some such rubbish or if it was the one where you were supposed to treat cyclists as if they were skittish wild animals or horses...

eburtthebike | 3 years ago

One in three seems about right, but we've all experienced the convoy of cars where the first passes you closely, and the rest do the same, as if because the first didn't hit you, that's the correct distance to pass.  Totally agree with minimum passing distances being in the HC, as long as they are also incorporated in law and can be prosecuted for failing to follow them.

Hirsute replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago

I do the exaggerated arm in the air now after it was suggested here. I think it has some effect, perhaps.

mdavidford replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
1 like

Generally I find the opposite - when the first driver passes close, the ones behind are much more likely to cross entirely into the other lane, as if seeing how close the first one got has made them more aware of what they're doing.

Or there's the opposite - a few that give a reasonable distance, followed by a close pass by one who's clearly just blindly following in the wake without paying attention.

Latest Comments