safe passing distance petition in uk in the uk

im sure this would also help unicyclists in the uk

I signed it out of principle, but I don’t really think it’ll help much - laws like this are virtually unenforcable unless we all ride around with lid-cams (Not that that helps anyway!) If someone wants to overtake like an idiot they’ll do so, and knowing it’s illegal isn’t going to stop them because who’s going to know? Same goes for speeding. As long as you speed while not near a speed camera, you’re basically safe from the law.

Well it’s clearly already got the usual useless reply from the government. They (and Piece Maker) are right about enforcement being a problem, but then that’s only because of a lack of will to enforce such things - I’ve reported a few incidents of bad driving to the police and yet to get them to take any action, even when I have independent witnesses. The HC could badly do with rewriting though - a specified passing distance in there would do any harm at all compared to the current somewhat ambiguous wording.

When I was learning to drive many years ago, one of my driving instructors said, “I can see you’re a bicyclist. You leave plenty of room passing bikes.”

A former Tour de France winner (legend) Eddy Merckx said that drivers “should give cyclists room to fall off in.” That has been in my mind ever since I heard it.

Living in Britain’s cycle capital, Cambridge, I use that rule a lot, and also see others NOT using it.


I once had someone I knew quite well berate me for not ‘letting them pass’ me when cycling in a lane deliberately narrowed by traffic bollards. I had in fact (correctly) taken the centre of the lane to prevent any stupid or inattentive driver attempting to pass at that point. What makes car drivers feel entitled to never be delayed by a bike when they will sit for hours in a traffic jam caused by cars? On the narrow lanes near me it isn’t unusual for me to drive at bike speed for a couple of miles until a clear passing opportunity arises - by which time I usually have at least one impatient non-cycling motorist trying to crawl up my exhaust.

I’ve never seen that quote before, but spot on. You’ll get me started here if you’re not careful (anybody on here following me on Strava will see that I’m currently logging a lot more road bike than unicycle time) - but IMHO that should be enshrined in law. No “I hit him because he wobbled” - if you’re close enough to a cyclist that you hit them then you are defacto guilty of careless driving at least - if you gave them sufficient space they wouldn’t be anywhere near you. The law in this country (though we’re far from unique) relating to cars hitting cyclists is ridiculous - far too much leniency is given to the people operating lethal weapons in a public space.

While I am perfectly in agreement with the petition, the enforcement is another question. The cuts to all sorts of things nowadays leaves precious little ‘police’ availability to monitor these things. Not a great deal done about phone users in cars, speeding, throwing detritus from the car windows i.e. cans, bottles, cigarette ends, KFC cartons etc etc… we get the lot around here and I dare say everywhere else in the nation, so, leaving a gap when passing a cyclist/s is a ideal that just is not going to work. We seem to get packs of cyclists whenever the sun shines around here, a burgeoning cycle hire business is everywhere as well, probably due to the holiday area, but a lot of the locals in four wheels seem to think the summer is free for all, cycle hunting season. I hope the petition gets some recognition, but I for one, I stay well off the roads on one wheel…