This Spring the cyclist you are passing too closely in London could be a Police officer. In an effort to enforce the 1.5 meter when passing a cyclist law. London’s Metropolitan Police are going low key, with plain-clothes police officers pedaling through the streets on bikes to monitor and issue tickets to motorists breaking the law.
The main goal is to crack down on close / aggressive passing. If a motorist passes a bike at a distance of less than 1.5 meters (just under 5 feet). The police will be able to make arrests if necessary, but they’re aiming to inform rather than punish.
Motorists caught engaging in driving that compromises cyclists’ safety will be given the choice between prosecution or a 15-minute roadside safety training session. By simply introducing the idea that cyclists on the road might just have a police badge in their pocket may have a far greater effect than punishment alone.
Last Autumn, police in the West Midlands (the region that contains England’s second city, Birmingham) sent just two plainclothes officers out on bicycle patrol to monitor drivers. Within just nine hours, the pair had stopped 130 motorists, reported eight for serious safety offenses, and revoked one license on the spot. Among the other drivers, only one chose prosecution over an advice session.
Last year, 123 British cyclists died on the roads, 89 of them due to collisions with motor vehicles. Five of those incidents saw the driver hit and run un-apprehended, without contacting emergency services or police. These incidents don’t just shatter lives, they create a climate of understandable fear that discourages more people from cycling, preventing cuts in congestion and pollution.
We wish Police programs like this would happen in all major cities of the world to educate motorists and promote safer cycling. In many states in the United states there are 3 foot when passing laws, but more often than not motorists have no idea that bikes are allowed on the road and certainly are not aware of the law. We believe motorists should learn how to safely pass a cyclist in drivers education and it should be a required section when renewing your drivers license.
Where you live is there are 1.5 meter or 3 foot passing law for motorists when passing a cyclist? If yes, do motorists obey the law?