Updated: 3 Feet campaign arrives in the UK

Will these warning jerseys catch on here? There here already it seems

by Tom Henry   June 9, 2009  

3ft Please jersey UK

The vehicle that passes just inches from you, almost sucking you into its slipstream, is an everyday experience for today’s road cyclists.

You scream abuse, shake your fist or – if you’re brave and quick – confront the errant driver at the next set of traffic lights, but nine times out of ten the driver is either oblivious or gives as good as he gets. Rarely is an apology forthcoming.

Most road cyclists learn to deal with inconsiderate drivers, but all too often an actual encounter between car and bike can end in serious injury or death.

Which is why, in the United States, a Florida man has come up with a cycling jersey that politely but firmly tells the passing driver to keep his distance. Joe Mizereck, from Tallahassee, has had the words ‘3 Feet Please’ printed in black letters on a yellow jersey, and has started a campaign to get as many cyclists as possible wearing them.

And it’s not just applicable to US roads. Joe exclusively told road.cc that riders in South Africa, Australia, Germany, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands and the UK are now sporting the slogan, or its metric equivalent. His aim is to sell a million shirts.

“I even have cyclists riding the streets of Jerusalem wearing the jersey,” he said. “I have just been amazed by the way this message has captured the attention of cyclists worldwide.

“The message can easily transfer to other countries and most certainly, cyclists in the UK can, do and should be wearing the jerseys. The more cyclists wearing this jersey around the world the greater the impact of the message. And that impact means more motorists giving more cyclists more space more often…and that makes cycling safer, which makes it easier for non-cyclists to overcome their fears and become cyclists.

“As those numbers increase cycling becomes even safer. There is a lot of good that can be accomplished by thousands of cyclists worldwide wearing a bright yellow jersey with the words “3 Feet Please” or “1 Metre Please” or Un Metro Por Favor” on the back.”

Thirteen states of the US currently have laws requiring drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing. Others are planning to follow suit.

Is there such legal protection for cyclists in the UK? Not according to Debra Rolfe, campaigns coordinator for the CTC. Drivers are required to give ‘sufficient space’, she said, but the law does not specify how much that should be.

“Three feet should be the minimum amount of space you give a cyclist,” she said. “It all depends on road conditions and how fast the driver is going, and I think it’s important not to get too fixated with numbers. A driver passing a cyclist at 60mph clearly should be much further away than a driver passing at 20mph.

“It’s great that people are campaigning to be aware of cyclists, but we do want people to ride, where possible, in normal clothing. It’s a tricky situation but I wonder whether it might be off-putting to cyclists who feel they have to go out every time in a jersey that warns motorists to keep away.”

* To find out more about Joe’s campaign visit www.3feetplease.com We’d also like to hear your views here at road.cc. Are Joe’s jerseys a good idea, or are they counter-productive? Would British drivers take any notice of them? Would YOU wear one? Drop us a line with your thoughts.
 

17 user comments

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Although ive only seen the pictures you've posted here, i suspect that the text is pretty difficult to read from a car drivers perspective, unless of course they are driving past to close.. but i'll certainly be putting one down on my 'stuff to get' list.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1078 posts]
8th June 2009 - 15:23

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Yellow and black is a striking colour combination - works well for bees!

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [152 posts]
8th June 2009 - 15:58

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riding around Brighton with "3 Feet Please" on my back would be asking for trouble.

posted by VecchioJo [710 posts]
8th June 2009 - 17:09

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Tom, thank you for sharing the "3 Feet Please" campaign story with your readers. I can imagine there may be some spots around the world where the jersey's message may ruffle some motorist's feathers. However, what I hear from all the cyclists getting back to me about their experiences is they believe more motorists are giving them more space more often. They feel safer wearing the bright yellow jersey and politely reminding motorists of their need for 3 feet of space when being passed from behind. Maybe, someday, motorists won't need a reminder. Until then a bold yet polite request for space is getting the job done...and that means lives saved.

Thank you,
Joe Mizereck
joe@3feetplease.com
joe@roadguardian.com

joemizereck's picture

posted by joemizereck [17 posts]
8th June 2009 - 18:42

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My experience of most motorists is that they couldn't give a toss, but if anything gets some of them thinking then it's got to be good. If nothing else, it's quite a fun jersey.

sponging-machine's picture

posted by sponging-machine [108 posts]
8th June 2009 - 21:39

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Love One - but wearing a rucksack to work every day would render it useless Crying

Rode the E'Tape Caledonia - first sportiv ever and thoroughly enjoyed it

badbunny's picture

posted by badbunny [71 posts]
9th June 2009 - 7:26

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badbunny wrote:
Love One - but wearing a rucksack to work every day would render it useless Crying

… sounds like a new line for Joe

hammergonewest's picture

posted by hammergonewest [105 posts]
9th June 2009 - 7:34

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I'm not sure this is a good idea- it sounds like you are preaching to drivers and you would just alienate the good ones.

posted by wild man [274 posts]
9th June 2009 - 9:01

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The good drivers will be giving you enough room not to be able to read the message - so won't feel preached at - anyway it is a polite message "Back off road hog!!" now that would get backs up "Stop looking at my Bum!" might be effective but is unlikely to pass Jo's Brighton test.

How likely is it to make good drivers drive too close cos they feel alienated? Not very, if you're a good driver those sorts of things shouldn't be a consideration.

It's the bad drivers you've got to worry about

hammergonewest's picture

posted by hammergonewest [105 posts]
9th June 2009 - 9:10

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riding around Brighton with "3 Feet Please" on my back would be asking for trouble

I think it's safe enough Jo, there must be a very small demographic that could fulfill this request...

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [644 posts]
9th June 2009 - 13:52

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May be one of these with a big '3' added would be more attention getting?

http://www.howies.co.uk/product.php/1798/92/

DaveP's picture

posted by DaveP [467 posts]
9th June 2009 - 14:48

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Even without the three it would be an attention getting come… on the other hand you might start to look dangerously like road markings Thinking

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4098 posts]
9th June 2009 - 15:07

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Dave, I have a backpack being designed by cyclelogicalgear.com that will have the "3 Feet Please" on it. I am very excited about it since I have had several hundred requests for them from cyclists who commute to and from work wearing backpacks that will cover up the jersey. I should have the design model in my hands within the next few days and will post it on my site for comments and suggestions.

Thank you,
Joe

joemizereck's picture

posted by joemizereck [17 posts]
9th June 2009 - 16:47

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Joe,

Good luck with your work, It can only make things safer for all of us.

Smile Smile

DaveP's picture

posted by DaveP [467 posts]
10th June 2009 - 7:42

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It's not a bad idea at all - tho the worst car and truck drivers won't give a hoot and will continue driving like the ignorant cretins that they are.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1868 posts]
10th June 2009 - 8:03

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perhaps a bag cover, hump style?

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1075 posts]
12th June 2009 - 1:11

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Maybe use that reflective 'black in the day / silver at night' material for the lettering as I imagine that the black writing wont be visible at night.

or LEDS on the arrows?

John

posted by JohnInStockie [3 posts]
12th June 2009 - 8:08

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