The Government is considering introducing legislation requiring motorists to give a minimum passing distance when overtaking cyclists, according to a news report in the Evening Standard.
Last week (23 May), Road Safety GB reported on a petition which has been launched calling for a legal minimum passing distance when drivers overtake cyclists.
The petition, set up by Tony Martin on the Government’s petition website, has attracted more than 16,000 signatures and will run until 24 October.
It calls for drivers to give a one metre clearance when overtaking cyclists on roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph, while on roads with higher speed limits the petition says the minimum passing distance should be 1.5 metres.
The Highway Code currently advises motorists to give ‘plenty of room’ when passing cyclists.
In response to the petition, the Government previously said any legislation of this type would be ‘difficult to enforce’.
This is a notion supported by the RAC, who says the legistlation would be both ‘unworkable and unenforceable’.
However, talking to the Evening Standard, transport minister Robert Goodwill now says the DfT is ‘interested’ in the idea, which is under review.
Mr Goodwill said: “The introduction of a legally enforceable minimum passing distance between cyclists and other vehicles in South Australia is relatively recent.
“As a result, there is limited information available regarding the impacts both positive and negative following this change in the law.
“As with other changes of this type introduced overseas, we remain interested in the change and are keeping it under review.”
David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “We believe a proposal for a minimum passing distance between cyclists and motorists would likely be both unworkable and unenforceable. Given the dwindling numbers of full time road traffic police officers, it’s hard to see how the law would be enforced and how it could be proved that a motorist gave too little space when passing a cyclist.
"However if evidence of a reduction in collisions exists from countries that already have a legal minimum distance then this should form part of this debate.
“The question is whether Government resources would be better allocated to running road safety campaigns that educate all road users about how to use shared road space safely and responsibly."