Shocking figures revealed 102 cyclists and 448 pedestrians were killed in 2016 and over 8,500 people suffering serious injury in the same period on Britain’s roads. Unsurprisingly, fines are now being introduced to protect these vulnerable road users. Are you leaving enough room when passing cyclists? 

A documentary on TV about cyclists labelled them “The scourge of the Roads” but the same could be said for impatient motorists.  As a driver, cyclists three-a-breast who give us no chance to overtake safely or who jump lights and weave in and out of traffic can annoy us. But often, the decisions we can judge from the security of our tin boxes, are made to deliberately make cyclists more visible and less vulnerable. 

The Government has passed new laws to introduce penalties for those deemed to be practising driving that is intimidating to cyclists and pedestrians. It’s an attempt to bring down the figures of those injured or killed by motorists. 

Though Rule 163 of the Highway Code states that when passing cyclists, drivers should give “as much room as you would when overtaking a car”, The Department of Transport has brought in mandatory distances that have to be maintained when passing a cyclist on the road.

Rule 163 of the Highway Code states that when passing cyclists, drivers should give “as much room as you would when overtaking a car”.

A lot of countries have already brought in laws to cover passing cyclists on the road and typically will be a minimum for one-metre passing distance on local roads with that increasing to one and a half metres on faster roads.

• The Government will be looking at fines to be imposed for the practice of ‘car dooring (when a motorist open their door without looking to see if a cyclist or motorcyclist is beside them.) 

• The review will also be considering penalties for any driver who strays into the boxes reserved for cycles at traffic lights.  These cycle stop boxes have been provided with the aim of giving cycles a bit of a head-start when the lights change. It also allows for bikes going straight ahead to be given priority by vehicles turning left. 

• There has also been a call for making cycle helmets compulsory but that does not have the backing of cycling campaigners. 

• There is also government published advice that an offence of ‘death by dangerous cycling’ law be created to match driving that results in death of a pedestrian, cyclist or other road user. 

• There are also callers for cyclists to have insurance in the same way as drivers have.

Cyclists also have road rules that they must abide by. These are also covered in the Highway Code and mostly address safety issues like making themselves visible and using cycle tracks marked out for them.

It always seems that it is the drivers on four wheels who, at present have the most asked of them. But two-wheel road users have a right to be safe too. Thankfully passing cyclists close isn’t anywhere near the top motoring offences.

There are a surprising array of things to take care of when you get around on four wheels. For instance, did you know that you could be fined for not having a clean windscreen?  Or number plate?

In fact, you can be landed with a £1000 fine because it is dangerous to drive with a dirty windscreen that impedes your vision or a number plate that is too dirty to read. At the very least you would be charged with dangerous driving and be fined £100 with 3 points on your licence.

The police have said that in 2016 the dazzling sun was the reason given in twenty-eight fatal crashes, 463 crashes that resulted in serious injury and just over 2000 crashes that resulted in slight injuries.

The best advice is to keep windscreens clean, outside and inside the car, and to have a pair of sunglasses in the car, all year round.

There is no doubt that there is a war going on out there between road users on two wheels and those on four. We all need to be safe on the roads and we know that OWO readers are leading the way!  We will always do our best to bring you up to date with any changes being considered or actually passed into law that concern our lives on the road. 

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