A petition on the UK Parliament website requesting new legislation for a minimum passing distance when overtaking cyclists is nearing 17,000 signatures.
The petition requests legal passing distances of “3.28 ft (1 m) when overtaking cyclists on roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph. On roads with higher speed limits, the minimum passing distance should be 4.9 ft (1.5 m)”.
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You can sign here: Petition to introduce a permanent, minimum passing distance when overtaking cyclists
At present, Highway Code Rule 212 states only that drivers should give “plenty of room when passing cyclists.”
The Government responded to the petition, stating that the legislation “would be extremely difficult to enforce and the Government does not believe that it would add to the existing rules and guidance”.
The Government response goes on to detail a similar change to the law in South Australia from October last year.
Drivers are required to give a minimum of one metre when passing a cyclist where the speed limit is 60km/h (37.3mph) or less or 1.5 metres where the speed limit is over 60km/h (40mph).
Penalties for breaches of these passing distances include fines and penalty points.
“It will take time to understand the benefits and impacts of this legislation on cyclists and other road users,” says the Department for Transport.
If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in Parliament.