Give Me Room! Motorists face new fines for driving too close to cyclists.
New penalties for drivers could be introduced to increase road safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
A Department for Transport review could lead to new road rules to reduce the increasingly high number of pedestrians and cyclists killed or seriously injured on UK roads.
Drivers could find themselves receiving fines for violations including overtaking too close to cyclists, straying into cycle boxes at traffic lights and failing to give cyclists going straight ahead priority at left turns.
The practice of ‘car-dooring’ will also be investigated. This is were drivers or passengers open doors without due care and attention, consequently hitting passing cyclists.
The DfT has already published a ‘call for evidence’ ahead of the review, during which it will decide whether or not to introduce safe ‘passing distances’.
What does the Highway Code Say?
The Highway Code advises motorists to leave plenty of room for cyclists. It also states that drivers should “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.” However, the review may lead to the setting of a minimum gap between car and bike to improve safety for cyclists on the roads.
In February, the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit launched a new scheme called Operation Velo. The goal of the initiative is to reduce the number of cycle casualties on the road. Under the scheme a 1.5-metre minimum overtaking distance was imposed.
Officers patrolled the streets to catch drivers not giving the appropriate distance. Motorists flouting the rules faced a £100 fine and three penalty points for careless driving. If the proposed are approved, we could see a similar scheme to Operation Velo rolled out across the UK.
A nation of cyclists?
The review forms part of the government’s plan to make cycling a and walking safer, while encouraging more people to take up cycling at all ages as part of a green revolution in transport. Cycling Minister Jesse Norman said:
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.
Another recent transport reform proposal may see the introduction of a graduated licensing scheme. This could result in restrictions including bans on night time driving for new and young drivers.