Government investment hopes to prevent cycling accidents

Cycling on the road in Autumn

At the end of June, the Government announced that it would be investing £1million in improving cycling safety.

This comes after various studies have shown that near misses and close passes on the road are an everyday occurrence for those that cycle regularly.

Close passes cause third of cycling accidents

A 2015 study showed  close passes, where a vehicle does not leave enough space when passing a cyclist, made up a third of all accidents that cyclists were involved in. Of these incidents, half of them occur in rural areas.

Additionally, the study showed that between the hours of 8am and 9am cycling accident rates were at their highest, particularly within urban areas.

52% do not know recommended space for passing a cyclist

A 2017 study showed that 52% of people either don’t know the Highway Code recommendation for the amount of space you should give when passing a cyclist - or got it wrong all together.

So what space should drivers be giving when passing a cyclist? The answer is the same space that you would give if passing a car.

Following this study, Cycling UK launched a “Too Close for Comfort” campaign, with the aim of raising enough funds to provide every police force in the UK with a “Close Pass Mat” which demonstrates the space that you should provide a cyclist when passing.

As part of the Governments investment they have allocated £500,000 to give police greater resources to pull over drivers who have passed cyclists too closely and educate them on how much space they should be giving.

The Close Pass Mats were used in Edinburgh last year during an Operation taken on by local police who pulled over any motorists not leaving enough space when passing an undercover officer on a bike. The drivers were then given a demonstration with the mat about the amount of space they should leave.

Learner drivers to be educated on cycle space

Further proposals include a spend of £500,000 to provide additional training for driving instructors on the importance of cycling safety and how best to incorporate this into lessons with new drivers.

The hope is that cycling safety awareness is at the forefront of a drivers mind while they are learning, carrying on that knowledge when they become fully-fledged drivers.

For more information, see our blog Reminder to cyclists – what you need to remember on the road.