Snowdonia's safe passing distance signs a UK first

The signs have been put up on roads that are seen as potentially dangerous for cyclists

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Snowdonia has become the first area in the UK to install road signs telling motorists the correct distance to pass a cyclist.

The new 'passing distance' signs have been put up on some of Snowdonia National Park's most popular mountain roads "to ensure that cyclists continue to get the respect and space they deserve"

Each signs clearly shows that cars should be giving cyclists 1.5 metres on the road and have been welcomed by cyclists as the Gwynedd Council looks to tackle the "very real" conflict between motorist and riders, the BBC reports. 

Traffic manager for the local authority, Dylan Jones, said: "We feel the message needs to be clear for vehicle drivers.

"The popularity of cycling has increased over the years, but with lockdown we have seen it become even more popular."

As cycling popularity increases during the global pandemic we are seeing more and more bikes on the road, as the government has tried to encourage more people to ride.

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The Highway Code says drivers should overtake a cyclist the same way they would overtake another car, which means a minimum distance of 1.5 metres.

The areas that the signs have been placed on are Llanberis Pass, Pen y Gwryd, Nant Gwynant, Drws y Coed, Ogwen Valley and Dyffryn Mymbyr.

Ann Williams, a member of the Dwyfor Cycling Club, said: "It is encouraging to see Gwynedd council taking the lead with these signs, and hopefully it will be emulated across the country."

Countries like France, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Portugal have all introduced a 1.5 metre minimum distance law in addition to 26 US states and several provinces in Canada. In Ireland, there is a new Road Traffic (Minimum Passing Distance of Cyclists) Bill 2017 currently under consideration whereby motorists would be obliged by law to pass cyclists no closer than 1.5 metres on a road with a speed limit of 30 mph or higher. On a road with a speed limit under 30 mph, the safe passing distance would be set at one metre.

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A poll taken by the BBC back in 2014 said that 52 per cent of people thought that roads in the UK are unsafe for cycling on and 64 per cent say that the local roads are not well designed for cycling on.

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Tim Bonville-Ginn is one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter.

Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.

When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.

He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.