Motorists urged to give cyclists more room when passing

Demonstrating how to overtake safely is cyclist John Little, from DBUG.
Demonstrating how to overtake safely is cyclist John Little, from DBUG.

Motorists are being urged to give cyclists more room when overtaking with the launch of a new road-safety campaign designed to eradicate ‘close-pass’ drivers.

Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) is launching the regional initiative to help safeguard cyclists and educate road-users about safer overtaking.

In Northumberland, between 2012 and 2016, there were four cyclist fatalities (the highest in the region), 55 incidents causing serious injuries and 244 involving slight injuries.

Motorists should leave at least 1.5m of space between their vehicle and the cyclist when overtaking at speeds less than 30mph, and this should be greater in poor weather conditions or when the car is travelling at speed.

Paul Watson, chairman of RSGB NE, said: “During the summer, we see cyclist casualties increase, but the majority of collisions are preventable. If everyone was a little more cautious and alert, slowed down and gave each other space, a lot of accidents could be avoided.

“I don’t believe drivers knowingly put cyclists at risk, but perhaps they’re not looking for them or maybe they are unaware of the dangers of close-pass overtaking.

“People overtaking too close to cyclists is a cause of a number of collisions, however, there may be numerous near misses that we know nothing about. We are asking all road-users to look out for each other and to help safeguard cyclists.”

Advice for drivers:

Take a second longer at junctions and roundabouts to look for cyclists

Look over your shoulder to check your blind spot before pulling out

Give cyclists at least 1.5m when overtaking, more in poor weather or when travelling at speed

Look over your shoulder before opening the car door, or try doing it with your left hand

Be patient when travelling behind cyclists if it’s unsafe to overtake

Be prepared for cyclists to move across the lane to avoid a hazard or take a corner

Advice for cyclists:

Be seen. Use reflectors and ensure your lights are working in the dark/poor weather

When preparing to turn left at a junction, don’t travel along the left side of a lorry

Position yourself in the centre of the lane at junctions and roundabouts

Ride on the left edge of the traffic flow – at least 0.75m away from the kerb

Look for drivers to react to you. If you don’t see a reaction, they may not have seen you

Avoid riding or waiting in blind spots

Overtake vehicles on the right-hand side when oncoming traffic allows