A petition 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. 100,000 signatures are required to trigger a debate in Parliament.
The petition 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, and the Government says any legislation of this type would be ‘difficult to enforce’.
ETSC data on the ‘death rate per billion kilometres cycled’ shows an ‘urgent need’ to improve safety for UK cyclists. At 22.4, the UK figure is far higher than Norway (11), Denmark (12.1), Netherlands (12.4) and Sweden (14.4).
The Government has issued the following response to the petition: “This Government currently does not have plans to legislate on a set minimum space (e.g. 1 metre) on roads with a speed limit of up to 30mph when overtaking a cyclist.
“This type of legislation would be extremely difficult to enforce and the Government does not believe that it would add to the existing rules and guidance, including those set out in the Highway Code, which advises drivers to give cyclists ‘at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car’.
“We are keeping this position under review, and are interested in learning from the experience of places where legislation of this type has been introduced.”