Road safety is one of the most important aspects of the car industry and impacts every vehicle. It’s been announced that motorists could soon be hit with a £100 fine for driving too close to cyclists on the road. The new law proposes that drivers be at least 1.5 metres away from cyclists when passing or overtaking. If a driver fails to comply then the £100 fine will apply along with three penalty points.
The new law has been proposed to help reduce the number of cycling accidents. Recent statistics from the Department for Transport showed there were 18,450 pedal cyclist casualties in September 2017, with 3750 being killed or badly injured. An average of 100 cyclists are killed in the UK each year.
The Highway Code states that drivers need to give cyclists “plenty of room” when passing and “at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.” The new law is meant to provide clear guidelines, enforcing a safer approach.
Cycling Minister Jesse Norman is hopeful for some real change. “We need to become a nation of cyclists, and this government wants to make cycling the natural choice of transport for people of all ages and backgrounds. We are determined to make cycling safer and easier across the country and we are continuing to invest. We shouldn’t only concentrate on catching and punishing drivers when they make a mistake, but try to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to drive safely alongside cyclists in all conditions.”
Although the new law isn’t in place yet, various police forces across the UK have adopted the close pass scheme. First pioneered by West Midlands Police, the scheme involves officers dressing in regular clothes and being on the lookout for drivers who pass targets too closely.
Around 200 people have been stopped, receiving on-the-spot education about safe overtaking. Repeat offenders are likely to be prosecuted.
PC Hodson is a firm believer in the initiative and its power to educate drivers. “We’ve seen reports of close-passes halve in the West Midlands since we started the project and the number of cyclists seriously hurt in collisions fall by a fifth – that’s incredible against a backdrop of increasing numbers of people cycling on our roads.”
“Drivers who endanger vulnerable road users need to understand that we run operations to catch them – and if they avoid our officers we can still prosecute them using footage provided by cyclists and other motorists.”