Cyclist safety is still a huge topic in today’s news and has come to light once again following a new petition. The petition, launched in May, has called for a legal minimum passing distance when drivers overtake cyclists. While the Highway Code already advises motorists to leave plenty of room when passing cyclists, will implementation of this new law enforce the issue or not make a difference at all?
The petition: What changes are required to help Cyclist Safety?
The petition in question details that 1m clearance should be given when drivers overtake cyclists on roads with speed limits of up to 30mph. On roads with higher speeds than 30mph, the petition highlights the requirement for even larger passing distances of 1.5m.
In 2012, the UK saw a five-year high in the number of cyclist deaths – 106 of which were a result of a collision with a motor vehicle. What’s more, in 2013, serious injuries suffered as a result of cyclist-vehicle collisions were 31% higher than the average over 2005 – 2009. This is despite actions to try and raise the awareness of safety on today’s roads.
Despite its publicity and support, the government has yet to accept the proposed changes, saying this type of legislation would be ‘difficult to enforce.’ What’s more, drivers learn about this requirement when learning about The Highway Code and should be practising it daily anyway.
The UK isn’t the first country to consider legislation on minimum passing distances either. 23 states in the USA require drivers to leave at least three feet when passing cyclists. Belgium, France, and Portugal are just a handful of other countries that have introduced minimum passing distance laws too.
Technology and education: A long-term solution to cyclist safety?
It seems clear that legislation on minimum passing distances will be difficult to administer, enforce, and monitor. With this in mind, we need to take better action to minimise the risk of accidents through measures that have been proven to deliver results.
Education is a huge factor in improving the interaction and awareness between cyclists and motorists on our road. This might include better education throughout the learning to drive process and continued training for employees that drive vehicles including LGVs, HGVs, taxis, and public transportation. There could also be better communication for messages that are directly related to road safety, particularly cyclist safety.
A number of vehicle safety technology solutions will also help to combat the risk of vehicle and cyclist collisions on our roads. Our products such as the TurnSafe range, not only give drivers a better view and perspective of the landscape around them, they also help drivers to maintain awareness of their driving and road safety. Of course, it’s important that cyclists are aware too – which is why we’ve built cyclist-friendly features into our products as well. Products like TurnAlarm audibly alert drivers of a vehicle’s presence, while TurnSign offers visible warnings.
To find out more about our cyclist safety products, give the Vision Techniques team a call today on 08452 873 170.