Yes, 3ft minimum like in the US
11% (27 votes)
Yes, 5ft minimum like in Europe
60% (153 votes)
No, CTC is right to focus on SMIDSY
30% (77 votes)
Total votes: 257

7 user comments

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I can't see what harm having a 1.5m minimum would do - it would introduce some much needed clarity and I don't see that it contradicts what the CTC is trying to do either

Spinning on a wheel

Hammy's picture

posted by Hammy [97 posts]
16th November 2009 - 15:50

1 Like

First it was 3 feet, then it was 5.

Why did this change overnight?

There seems to be understanding how laws are made and enforced in this country. Why should CTC campaign for primary legislation on such a narrow and specific area? There are other areas which cry out for legislation before this tiny and arbitrary rule.

Furthermore do people really think that having a specific law insisting on a certain distance will actually stop the people who hit cyclists when overtaking?

It seems to me that the American practice of 3ft passing laws is more about window dressing than actually trying to deal with the issues of road safety: speed and dangerous behaviour. 75% of cyclists injuries occur at junctions. That's where you need to target driver behaviour.

posted by pickles [28 posts]
16th November 2009 - 17:51


Furthermore do people really think that having a specific law insisting on a certain distance will actually stop the people who hit cyclists when overtaking?

no. but it will make them liable.

Barry Fry-up's picture

posted by Barry Fry-up [191 posts]
16th November 2009 - 18:32


how is the 3/5ft rule enforcable? will drivers care if it is passed as a law? how many roads allow 5ft??

let's get behind the CTC's SMIDSY focus, that could make a real difference by making drivers more accountable and careful. A get-out for poor driving or a dangerous lack of attention isn't acceptable and addressing that would make the roads safer than 3/5ft distance. imo distance is a bit meaningless without taking speed into account anyway.

posted by james-o [225 posts]
17th November 2009 - 18:30


It'll be enforceable if a cyclist is 'clipped' by a motorist because there can't be any argument about who is in the wrong. Plus it will make motorists think more about the distance they are giving cyclists when they pass.

The mobile phone law isn't strictly enforceable either, but motorists know it is wrong to use one and a lot of them don't. They also know that if they are involved in a serious incident the police will check the driver's phone records and they will be in real trouble if it turns out they were using their mobile at the time.

SMIDSY is a laudable aim, but it's too unclear and unfocused + how likely is it that the police will start enforcing traffic law more rigourously without a large increase in policing budgets which is unlikely to be forthcoming in the current economic climate. Even if they did at the moment it's more likely that they would clamp down on anti-social cyclists because that's what public sentiment wants.

Better to focus on a simple, achievable objective, that will have an impact on driver awareness of the need to give cyclists more space.

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [141 posts]
17th November 2009 - 18:49


I nearly got clipped by white van man today while I was in a bus lane - he got fed up pootling along behind a truck and overtook it on the inside, nearly taking me out.


posted by OldRidgeback [2535 posts]
17th November 2009 - 19:04


"It'll be enforceable if a cyclist is 'clipped' by a motorist" it already is in that case - that would be classed as a collision and / or failing to stop.

what i'm getting at is that i believe that very few drivers will change their passing habits, new rule or not. it's different to the phone rule as it's far less enforcable or reportable. drivers shouldn't undertake, overtake bikes with no room when there's a solid white line, etc etc, but they do generally. SMIDSY does focus on the need to treat other road users with respect in all situations, not just overtaking. ie look more carefully and pay attention!

SMIDSY is a get-out clause that avoids responsibility and removing this ability to use it as an excuse for 'not giving a monkeys / driving like a prat' would be a step in the right direction, especially for injured riders seeking redress. the thing about the passing law is we all think 'yeah good idea' so it gets support but in reality it will not make a jot of difference. like the phone example in event of an accident, SMIDSY would mean if you do hit a rider you can't just claim not to have seen them, so it's more likely to result in more care taken.

I'm 100% with the CTC on this one. you have more faith in peoples willing to follow laws than i do Smile tbh, 5ft, 3ft, 2ft, i don't care as long as people drive with more consideration and less haste.. if the cyclist and driver is careful and aware in all situations then we're all safer.

posted by james-o [225 posts]
18th November 2009 - 15:08

1 Like