Rule 163 of the Highway Code in the UK states: “Give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.” To me that’s ambiguous, as most drivers overtaking another car don’t leave very much room at all, and often they don’t need it as “a miss is as good as a mile.” What I think the Highway Code means is “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders a car width’s clearance when overtaking them”
(To be fair, no one can be left in doubt as to the meaning of the rule as a photo clearly illustrates what they mean.)
In Queensland Australia a law has been enacted which states that a car travelling in a zone with a speed limit of less than 60kph (45mph) must leave 1 metre (3ft 3in) clearance between their vehicle and a cyclist. Vehicles travelling in zones where the limit is over 60kph must leave 1.5 metres (4ft 6in) clearance.
A vehicle passing too close at the very least causes a pulse of air and noise which is both alarming and destabilizing for a cyclist. As there is no unique sound made by a vehicle approaching from behind which is intending to overtake too close, a cyclist maybe in the middle of a quick manoeuvre to avoid a pothole or a recessed drain at that moment, the driver could end up with the cyclist under his/her wheels or at least knocking the cyclist off with their wing mirror. Overtaking too close is lazy, thoughtless and dangerous.
I go out on my bike most days on the roads of west Wales and now have a Fly6 rear camera to help identify people who just can’t be bothered to steer safely around me. Click a photo for a larger version.
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