Passing Laws

11 April 2016

This isn’t the first time I’ve quoted David Allen Green’s article “Should We Ban Banning Things?”

“The legalistic prose in a solemn document is not some magic spell which banishes horrors by invocation. To say there should be a law against a thing is often no more than saying there should be a spell against it. In fact, “banning” things often creates new problems.”

This précis is rarely more applicable than to Motion 14 of this year’s CTC/Cycling UK annual general meeting. CTC council opposes the motion, and—as I’m sure you might already suspect—so do I, although for largely different reasons.

What is Motion 14?

Motion 14, which I quote here in full, proposes the following:

“The AGM requests a legal requirement for minimum passing clearance when overtaking or near to cyclists, to try and reduce the frequency of motor vehicles passing too close. On roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph or when passing at a speed up to and including 30mph, a 1m minimum is suggested. On roads with higher speed limits, a 1.5m minimum passing distance is suggested. In addition, on narrow roads frequent passing places should be provided.”

The desire to achieve this is wholly understandable: anyone who has cycled on the road knows that probably the worst aspect of it is the proximity with which some drivers pass. Those of us who ride on the road would all dearly love to fix that. We would all love to cast that magic spell which banishes the horrors of the close pass.

But to believe that creating a law against it will fix it is not only naive, it is downright harmful to the goals of achieving more and safer cycling.

Enforceability

Possibly the most obvious problem with a passing law is that of the lack of enforceability. A simple and accurate limit does not mean that real world measurements are simple or accurate, and this means that these measurements struggle to be credible—a fact that was well demonstrated in Martin Porter’s recent private prosecution.

Indeed, even constructing the law so as to provide for the basic necessity of measurement is difficult enough. How would the distance between a bicycle and a motor vehicle be measured? There are no two single points between which the distance would be measured, and the two vehicles are in constant motion relative not only to the highway but also to each other.

Detecting a speeding offence, for example, is comparatively facile; but nonetheless it requires calibrated equipment and can only be detected where that equipment is situated. For the police or a highway authority to detect a passing distance offence would require the same: for them not only to possess and use calibrated detection equipment, but also for the offence to occur at a location covered by that equipment.

Of course, you could build a bicycle-mounted device to measure passing distances. But then you’d have to get it calibrated and approved; and even if you succeeded, either you’d be the one evidence gatherer in the country or any protection afforded by the law would be available only to those willing and able to pay for the privilege of owning one of your devices. (The “Nearmissometer” in that link isn’t an evidence-gathering device, it’s a data-gathering device.)

There are those who suggest that sometimes a close pass captured on video is so “obviously” close that accuracy doesn’t matter. I think this is optimistic at best. Refer back to Martin Porter’s case, and the driver’s excessive speed—estimated at around 180% of the speed limit—is obvious, but there was no punishment for it. Drivers are frequently quite capable of evading penalties when detected by properly calibrated equipment, let alone a video camera; it would be foolish indeed to assume that something that seems “obvious” on a video is inherently sufficient to prove legal culpability.

Others argue that the unenforceability of the law is not a problem and that its real value is in acting as a reminder; they often cite roadside signage such as can often be seen in, for example, France. But this actually sides with council’s opposing position on Motion 14, which argues that the Highway Code is a better place to recommend passing distances. If one accepts that the law is unenforceable and points out that it is simply visual reminders of desired behaviour that is important, then it makes no sense to argue for legislation.

Keen readers may be itching to remind me that I’ve previously argued in favour of unenforceable laws, but I’ve argued that point only for offences which are highly provable following a collision, making the prosecution of negligent driving much more straightforward in such circumstances. This is not the case for a distance passing law: it is not obviously more provable after a collision than before it; and the fact that a collision has occurred is, after all, a clear indication that the distance between the two vehicles was zero.

Belief

The belief that a law will make a difference is just that: a belief. The proposer of Motion 14 offers a Cycling Tips article, which reports the recent introduction of a distance passing law in South Australia. It references an earlier Cycling Tips article, prior to the legislation, in which Garry Brennan of Bicycle Network says,

“We looked at the evidence and we found there were no benefits where [a minimum passing distance law] had been introduced—there’d been no benefits for bike safety. Where the law has been introduced and research has been done, the vehicles are not giving cyclists more room.”

The law was to all intents and purposes the direct result of lobbying by the Amy Gillett Foundation, whose other most notable policy is supporting compulsion of cycle helmets and who are often accused of being an anti-cycling organisation. As Brennan notes,

“The AGF have staked everything on this campaign and have lobbied and promoted it up and down the country, but they never asked the fundamental question: what would success look like? How do they measure the success of the campaign? Is it political support for a new law, or is it changes to trauma rates or road user behaviour? Their energy and persistence is admirable, but they were asking for the wrong thing—they just didn’t seem to realise that one metre laws have never reduced trauma or improved behaviour.”

Needless to say, Motion 14 also has no mention of any performance indicator or measure of success. It is the result of a belief system: a bad thing is happening, we assume a law will fix it, and because we assume that it will do so we shall not question it. It is blind faith: belief without evidence, assertion without scrutiny.

Responses

Let us imagine for a moment that the unthinkable happens and everyone adheres to the law. Then let us consider some real-world scenarios.

For instance: riding two-abreast. In the short film “Side by Side”, Chris Boardman explains why riding two abreast makes it easier to overtake safely; yet—depending on the road and the exact position of the riders—this may make it difficult or impossible to adhere to the 1.5m passing rule. Would pro-driving organisations therefore seek legislation against two-abreast riding?

Equally, what happens on singletrack carriageways? Certainly, there are many times on such roads where it is dangerous to pass, but how does the distance passing law deal with a rider who voluntarily slows and moves aside, gesturing to allow a driver to pass? The Highway Code currently advises slow road users to move aside to allow a queue of traffic to pass; would pro-driving organisations seek legislation to make this mandatory?

What about the times when a rider quite reasonably chooses not to use a cycle lane? Would pro-driving organisations see a distance passing law as unreasonable in conjunction with this option, and seek legislation to make the use of cycle lanes mandatory? Perhaps not so much of an issue if Britain’s cycling infrastructure looked like that of the Netherlands, but it’s currently very, very far from it and will be for quite some time.

This sort of unilateral legislation should not be assumed to be acceptable to all. And although the proposer of Motion 14 cites Australia in support of the law, in fact Australia offers a stark note of caution.

Take note of the legislation that accompanied the distance passing law in New South Wales: riders over 18 must now carry ID, and the fines for a number of cycling offences—such as not wearing a helmet, not stopping at a crossing or passing through a red light—all rose more than fourfold, to a level either equal to or exceeding that for violating the distance passing law. If you’re reading this then there’s a good chance you cycle frequently, so your instinctive pro-cycling viewpoint might be to see the further erosion of cycling freedoms and the increase in cycling penalties as the political price paid for the safety that you assume the distance passing law to bring. But step away from that viewpoint for a moment and consider a different one: an anti-cycling viewpoint, where an broadly unenforceable rule for drivers is a sop to ease the further erosion of cycling freedoms and the increase in cycling penalties. If a worthless sop can be dressed up as a pro-cycling measure, it becomes a valuable political gambit for an anti-cycling agenda.

Road politics is, sadly, a game of diplomacy, and demands for legislation—especially those based on hope rather than evidence, and especially those unilaterally voiced by groups at a political disadvantage—should not be made without careful consideration.

What cost?

The cost of pursuing a legislative change is not to be sniffed at: it takes time and it takes money, but more importantly it takes political energy and it changes the political landscape.

Let us be clear for a moment about one thing.

Decades of fiddling with legislation, championing education and promoting of on-carriageway cycling have brought neither significantly greater safety nor significantly greater participation—not in this country, nor in any others. Note my comment above, that close passing is an issue that “those of us who ride on the road would all dearly love to fix”. There is an implicit remark lurking behind it: those who only ride away from the road are broadly unlikely to give two hoots about it, because it won’t suddenly make them want to mingle with cars and trucks.

Let me paraphrase a challenge that I set in regard to to presumed liability: Find someone who doesn’t cycle on the roads. Tell them that if they cycle on the road we will introduce a law whereby it will be possible to fine people who can (somehow) be deemed to have passed within a metre or so of them, and ask them if they have now changed their mind and are now happy to cycle on the roads. If you can find someone who says yes, let me know in the comments and I will send you a unicorn.

The similarities between the over-eager push for distance passing laws and the over-eager push for presumed liability are significant: both represent perfectly reasonable goals in an idealistic sense, but they’re very much the result of the perceptions of a pre-selected group. They are not just a reflection of the status quo but an introspection of it, and as such they are political diversions from the policies that actually will make a difference—by which I mean those which have actually been shown to make a difference. And those policies are: build good infrastructure, build good infrastructure, and build good infrastructure.

Worse still: because policies such as distance passing laws and presumed liability focus so much on the status quo, they reinforce it. The more effort politicians put into policies that are perceived (or can be sold as) improving life for people on the carriageway, the less keen they will be to invest effort in then enabling them not to be on the carriageway in the first place. In other words: spend all your political capital on demanding laws to protect cyclists on the carriageway and you undermine the case for providing protected routes off the carriageway.

The goal of protecting the people already cycling on the road is a valid one, but if you’re taking your eye off of the far greater goal to deal with that then you’d better make sure that whatever you demand—especially something so significant as an additional law—is going to make a significant difference. A distance passing law is at best an uneducated gamble, and at worst complete ignorance of evidence-based decision-making.

Steer clear

There is no evidence to suggest that a distance passing law will make cycling more attractive, nor is there much logical reason to suggest that it will. There is also no credible evidence that it reduces casualty rates or collision rates per kilometre cycled on the carriageway.

For sure, safer passing is an entirely desirable thing. But legislation is not a form of hypnosis that suddenly makes people behave better; especially not if enforcement is difficult.

The political stakes are high, and one of the greatest perils of any struggle to achieve real change is the temptation to gamble on hope; the belief in something being “better than nothing” often results in something worse than nothing.

CTC council is absolutely right to oppose this motion, and is absolutely right to recognise that if drivers are to be given additional guidance in this matter then the Highway Code—despite its volatile relationship with the law—is a better place for it than the statute book. The fact that it is not legally binding is actually no bad thing, because to make the measurements legally binding would be to fail to understand the practical difficulties and social ramifications of such an ill-constructed law.

Motion 14 is probably the most naive proposal I have seen in a long time, and the pursuit of any such policy would be harmful to the goal of achieving more and safer cycling. It plays into the hands of those who would prevent cycling becoming an accessible transport option and it undermines the efforts of those who would enable it.

If you are reading this as a CTC member, I would suggest opposing Motion 14; if you are reading it in any other capacity, I would simply suggest understanding that such a proposal doesn’t merely risk spending scarce resources for nothing, it risks spending scarce resources moving further from your own goals.

Comments

  1. Jitensha Oni 12 April 2016 9:18am #

    And here we go…

    Ah, I see, fear of losing the right to the road is it? How very old school. And by keeping your eyes on the prize you may risk burning your bridges. And I did all I could do in advocating cycle paths today, so I think I’ll have ago at supporting other measures. Problemo?

    Taunting aside, we’ll have to agree to differ on MPDL. I’ll accept the argument that goes (and I’m sure you’re aware of the source):

    “There is no strong evidence to prove that a MPDL will be transformative for rider safety or rider numbers, but likewise, no strong evidence that it will be detrimental. The introduction of MPDLs may serve as an opportunity to clarify cyclist rights on the road, and reinforce to drivers the need to allow enough passing distance in a way that the former rule did not. Furthermore, because riders feel safer, on balance, Bicycle Network believes that Victoria should adopt a consistent approach with other Australian jurisdictions and introduce a MPDL trial.”

    but not a dismissal based almost entirely on deduction and no small dollop of rhetoric.

    On a technical note, it’s not clear, when you use the phrase “scarce resources”, whether you mean (or are conflating) campaigning resources or resources made available by the government. I presume the former, because the latter could change overnight if the politicians suddenly managed to screw their heads on right (though we’d still have to find enough competent crews to build the damn stuff – it’s taken 23 weeks and counting for 700m of segregation to be installed in Kingston – meh). Either way, it sounds like you are of the opinion that campaigners can be effective in the absence of a pre-existing government actor with an extremely strong personality (like Boris), and that, apart from the odd throw-em-a-crust km here and there, and recently, cargo-cult constructions elsewhere, remains to be demonstrated.

    Anyway In the current on-a-knife-edge climate, I’d rather be pessimistic and naive (along with the governments who enacted the MPDL) than optimistic and arguably equally naive. We’ll maybe see more clearly after the next Mayoral election. Don’t get rid of the unicorns yet.

  2. Bez 12 April 2016 2:06pm #

    “Ah, I see, fear of losing the right to the road is it? How very old school.”

    Eh? I would have thought that arguing for legislation that reinforces riding on the road is more closely related to fear of losing that right, and that arguing for dedicated infrastructure is rather the opposite.

    “On a technical note, it’s not clear, when you use the phrase “scarce resources”, whether you mean (or are conflating) campaigning resources or resources made available by the government.”

    Primarily I meant the former, but the point applies even more acutely to the resources of politicians’ time and energy. The world is full of myriad issues clamouring for political attention during the working week, and cycling is just one of them. It is politicians who enable the building of infrastructure and it is politicians who bring about new laws, and the resources for doing this are scarce. Lobbying them to enable riding on the road, gaining their support, and then lobbying them to enable riding away from the road is certainly not impossible, but does present obvious potential issues.

  3. Neil 13 April 2016 7:07am #

    I started to skip towards the end, but one other issue with distance passing laws is how it can be phrased so that filtering is still allowed. Or rather if a cyclist is filtering and the traffic is or starts to move, do the rules still apply? So either another easy get out in some situations or another anti-cycle measure (no filtering) that pro-driving orgs could push for.

  4. Graeme 1 May 2016 2:49am #

    Thanks Bez. Quite thorough. I tend to agree with a few viewpoints – like you, I agree that MPDL’s are rather unenforceable, and nothing much will encourage non-cyclists to hop on a bike like proper infrastructure. In the meantime, however, like Jitensha, I tend to think that the value in such laws is merely the message that it *can* send to the public that cyclists are worth considering, and, like you (I think?), they also have value in cases where contact is made, rather than attempting to merely punish a close pass.

    As a final solution MPDL’s are laughable. Too much worth is placed in them generally, and they can also be a welcome distraction to anyone interested in putting-off the implementation of real cycling infrastructure. Much like painted bike lanes (http://www.thestickybidon.com/segregated-infrastructure-none/). But as a stop-gap to better cycling conditions, I don’t think they can be of much harm, if used correctly.

  5. Colin Clarke 14 May 2016 4:24pm #

    Actually a passing law would provide benefits. Based on evidence of states in the USA where laws have been passed, those states increased their cycling levels at twice the rate of those without passing laws. It can be enforced by scaling the distance of 1m or 1.5 m from video evidence, the registration number and vehicle make. It should reduce deaths by about 10% because about one quarter of accidents resulting in serious injury to a cyclist involved an HGV, bus or coach ‘passing too close’ to the rider.

    • Bez 17 May 2016 12:18pm #

      Do you have a source for that evidence? I’m going to hypothesise that if there is a correlation then it’s due to other measures introduced at a similar time, but I’m happy to check it out if you can provide a link.

      I would suggest that the claim of 10% reduction in deaths is wildly unrealistic to put it mildly. Having tracked fatalities for the last couple of years, I don’t believe that 10% could be attributed to close passes, and even if they could then you would need the law to somehow be 100% effective in preventing them.

      I’m partway through checking out the Queensland fatalities over the last four or so years, because it was claimed there that the passing law caused a drop in fatalities last year. The figure was unusually low that year, but as with the UK it looks unlikely that sufficient incidents could be attributed to close passing, and in the few months following that statement the number of fatalities rocketed. The most likely explanation for most if not all of the fluctuation is statistical noise, not legislation.

      • Colin Clarke 17 May 2016 1:35pm #

        Evidence of proposed UK law regarding motorists passing cyclist

        Author Colin Clarke

        Abstract
        Several countries have implemented laws requiring vehicles to leave a minimum clearance distance when overtaking cyclists. A recent petition to the UK government requests such a law. The UK petition suggestion is for 1 metre when overtaking cyclists on roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph. On roads with higher speed limits, the minimum passing distance should be 1.5 metre. Consideration is given to the potential benefits of such legal requirements.

        Background
        Sometimes cyclists are killed or seriously injured by vehicles either passing too close or by being hit from the rear. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) reports ;

        ‘In 2014 21,287 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents, including 3,514 who are killed or seriously injured.’

        And

        ‘However, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) present a particular danger for cyclists, especially in London where around 20% of cyclist fatalities occur involve an HGV. These often occur when an HGV is turning left at a junction’. About one quarter of accidents resulting in serious injury to a cyclist involved an HGV, bus or coach ‘passing too close’ to the rider’.

        And

        ‘Around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads.’

        UK data on passing clearances
        Detailed measurements of the clearance between vehicles and bicycle were taken in urban areas by Dr Ian Walker from Bath University who reported on 2355 vehicle passes. Approximately 107 passes were within 1 metre. That is approximately 1 in 22 passes were within 1.0 metre. He reported being hit twice during the tests. The mean overtaking distances ranged from cars at 1.33 metre to buses at 1.08 metre .

        Cases of close passing are reported regularly by cyclists on web sites and it can be hazardous and extremely intimidating for them. Cyclist’s report that in parts of Europe the same driving culture does not occur and drivers give more space to cyclists, perhaps in part due to the higher levels of cycling and more drivers are active cyclists. Some European data is available on the number of kilometres cycled and the death rate per billion kilometre cycle . Norway with 11.0 cyclist deaths per billion kilometres cycled, followed by Denmark with 12.1, the Netherlands with 12.4, Sweden with 14.4 and Great Britain with 22.4. Data from GB shows that there is an urgent need to improve safety for cyclists.

        Countries with passing clearance laws
        A number of passing laws have been approved in several countries. For example more than half the states in the USA have passing laws . Some states in Australia, parts or Europe and Canada. Data from the USA reports the changes in cycling levels for 2005 to 2014 for each state . The average increase for states with passing laws was approximately 56%, whereas for states without passing laws 22%. From this it appears that passing clearance laws results in a less intimidating road conditions for cycling.

        Some USA states without state wide passing laws may have local laws, for example Texas. Vulnerable road user ordinances with language stipulating a safe passing distance have been passed in 23 Texas Cities, including Alamo, Alton, Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Denton, Edinburg, El Paso, Fort Worth, Harlingen, Helotes, Houston, McAllen, Mission, New Braunfels, Palmhurst, Pharr, Plano, San Antonio, San Juan, San Marcos, and Weslaco.

        Many factors can affect accident statistics and only a proportion of accidents are due to passing too close, but in some cases they will be the more serious accidents. In Texas from 2006 – 8, prior to their passing laws, 152 cyclists and 1245 pedestrians were killed. From 2009-2014, after they started with passing laws in 20+ cities, 292 cyclists and 2686 pedestrians were killed, the ratio cyclist to pedestrian reduced from 12.208% reduced to 10.871%. If the 12.208% had applied for the period 2009-2014 there would have been 328 cyclist deaths (12.208% of 2686) but they had 292 cyclist deaths, 36 fewer, approximately 6 per year. From 2005 to 2014 the proportion who commuted by bicycle increased by 19%. For the UK a similar outcome may result in about 10 lives saved per year together with a proportion of injuries and increased cycling levels.

        For Australia they have had laws passed in Queensland and other states with cyclists from Western Australia seeking to provide similar laws. In Victoria they are also considering this issue. The Queensland report “Evaluation of the Queensland Minimum Passing Distance Road Rule” (Minimum Passing Distance =MPD) mentions,
        ‘In conclusion, from the perspective of police officers, the introduction of the MPD road rule has improved cyclist safety despite the difficulties of enforcement leading to few infringements being issued.’
        and
        Most riders (73.2%) and drivers (59.5%) in the current survey agreed or strongly agreed that they have observed motorists giving bicycle riders more room when overtaking than they used to.
        and
        One-third of drivers and two-thirds of cyclists said that the rule has made it safer for cyclists.
        The Queensland report details the fatality rate per month for cyclists and other road users for before to after the passing rule, both reduced with rate ratios of 0.65 for cyclists and 0.86 for other road users. The bicycle crash rate per month for before to after, for all injuries had a rate ratio of 0.87, also a substantial reduction.
        The passing laws had a positive effect and are enforceable with the right techniques.

        The Amy Gillett Foundation’s ‘a metre matters’ campaign, launched in November 2009 is based around a simple premise – drivers not hitting bicycle riders.

        Discussion
        Changing driving habits to improve safety requires laws that lead to safer behaviour and the proposal for providing minimum clearance of 1 metre when overtaking cyclists on roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph and 1.5 metre for roads with higher speed limits would contribute to safer cycling conditions. On narrow roads extra care could be required to pass only when safe and sufficient space. Extra passing places on some narrow roads may assist to improve safety and ease traffic flows at other times. Police enforcement and guidelines could take a number of factors into account when issuing fines. A passing law would be clearer about when unsuitable overtaking had taken place. Only in a small percentage of cases, approximately 4.5% for urban areas had drivers passed within 1.0 metres, so it can be concluded that dangerous overtaking occurs by a minority of drivers who are putting cyclists at risk.

        Conclusions
        Introducing legal requirements for a minimum passing clearance for vehicles overtaking cyclists would provide an extra safety incentive to pass with care and be enforceable with suitable evidence. The requirement would help to identify drivers who endanger others and could assist in improving overall road safety. The requirement would help reduce intimidating and aggressive driving. The requirement would most likely lead to increasing cycling levels and contribute to a healthier society. Overall the legal requirements suggested should be supported.

        Please sign the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128190

        To introduce a permanent, minimum passing distance when overtaking cyclists.
        https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128190
        RoSPA Road Safety Information Nov 2015, http://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/cyclists/cycling-accidents-factsheet.pdf
        http://www.drianwalker.com/overtaking/overtakingprobrief.pdf and http://www.drianwalker.com/overtaking
        http://archive.etsc.eu/documents/BIKE_PAL_Safety_Ranking.pdf
        http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/safely-passing-bicyclists.aspx
        http://cyclingtips.com/2016/04/victorias-proposed-overtaking-laws-do-cyclists-always-a-need-a-metre-of-space/
        http://www.biketexas.org/en/advocacy/safe-passing
        http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/Where_We_Ride_2014_data_web.pdf
        https://www.bwa.org.au/bikes-and-riding/735/
        http://eprints.qut.edu.au/94655/
        http://www.amygillett.org.au/programs-resources/a-metre-matters

        • Bez 17 May 2016 2:09pm #

          Thanks. I apologise if I’ve missed it but I can’t see in that list a source for the following, which is the bit where I suspect changes may be due to other factors:

          “Data from the USA reports the changes in cycling levels for 2005 to 2014 for each state. The average increase for states with passing laws was approximately 56%, whereas for states without passing laws 22%.”

          The Queensland report is a little curious. The researchers were essentially unable to produce quantitative data for passing distances and therefore it largely comprises people’s perceptions and opinions, which are not reliable, plus some casualty data which—while promising on the face of it—I don’t recall being compelling (eg we return to the point of significant fluctuations in the fatality figures, which rose sharply shortly afterwards).

          • Colin Clarke 17 May 2016 3:59pm #

            http://www.bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/Where_We_Ride_2014_data_web.pdf
            It provides details per state from 2005 to 2014,

            to obtain
            “Data from the USA reports the changes in cycling levels for 2005 to 2014 for each state. The average increase for states with passing laws was approximately 56%, whereas for states without passing laws 22%.”,
            you have to ID the states with legislation and without and average the figures.

            For Queensland, http://eprints.qut.edu.au/94655/ it reports;

            Analyses of uncleansed preliminary police data showed that during the two years prior to the commencement of the MPD trial, the number of serious (fatal and hospitalisation) bicycle-related crashes per month showed no statistically significant trend but that from the commencement of the trial until October 2015 there has been a statistically significant decreasing trend. This has resulted in an estimated 48.5 fewer serious bicycle crashes in the post-commencement period than would have been expected based on extrapolation from the pre-trial trend.

            Table 6.3 details the overall crash rate reduction from 57.17 to 50.0 , about 13%.

          • Milessio 12 June 2016 8:59pm #

            A one line summary from the Queensland report, as they wrote; ‘It is premature to draw conclusions regarding the road safety benefits of the road rule at this stage’.

            The trial seems to have been poorly conducted; including having only one site with passing distance recording for both before & during; but there the road was so wide that there were never any close passes even before (!).

            Also, not controlling for miles cycling is unforgivable, especially due to introducing the helmet use law etc at the same time.

  6. Colin Clarke 13 June 2016 7:30am #

    The conclusions also includes;
    Analyses of the preliminary police crash data suggest that 48.5 fewer serious bicycle crashes occurred in the first 18 months after the MPD rule was introduced than would have been expected based on extrapolation from the pre-trial trend. The extent to which this reduction can be attributed to the commencement of the MPD road rule trial is unclear but it is consistent with the views expressed by many of the police interviewed and the cyclists and drivers surveyed that the introduction of the MPD road rule had made it safer for cyclists.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/racq-backs-retention-of-onemetre-passing-law-20160404-gny8t8.html
    The Queensland motoring organisation the RACQ back the law.

    http://www.cycle-helmets.com/au-assessment-2015.pdf
    Table 5 details that the QLD helmet law came in 1.7.1991, so may not have add a significant effect on the passing distance law.

    Former Team GB star Chris Boardman, now a policy adviser to British Cycling, said the new law should be brought in “without delay. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/motorists-could-face-100-fines-8102754

    The CTC had a vote on a proposal legal requirement this year,

    AGM result motion 14

    http://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/files/2016ersvotingresults.pdf

    At the AGM the directed voting were 1261 (20+53+1188) for and 844 (14+37+793) against. I make this 59.9% in favour of directed voting.

    The Chairs discretionary voting 881, my view, this is questionable. This is because the voting paper puts the Chair’s option first combined with they do not have to name the person. The AGM is set up so that the Chair is always either the Councils Chair or deputy Chair. All other proxy’s have to be given to individuals and named and if they do not manage to attend their votes will not be counted from what I gather. In short it is an easier process voting for the Chair, a tick box option and gives an advantage. The Chair discretionary vote was used to oppose the motion, basically asking for a legal requirement.

  7. Ron STEWART 16 June 2016 11:43pm #

    As the vast majority of drivers already leave more than 1.5 metres when overtaking me on rural roads, I would be concerned that this proposal becoming law could result in drivers reassessing their driving style and thinking perhaps they had been over cautious in the past and modifying their habits to leave a 1.6m gap.
    The proposer has not considered the situation on single track roads where drivers frequently ignore passing places even although they have observed an oncoming cyclist and expect the cyclist to readily accept a passing distance considerably less than 1.5m or even 1.0m.

    • Colin Clarke 17 June 2016 7:26am #

      The actual results from Queensland found that drivers gave more space to cyclists.

      http://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/files/agmagenda2016and2015minutes.pdf
      it included;
      14) Legal minimum passing clearance
      The AGM requests a legal requirement for minimum passing clearance when overtaking or near to cyclists, to try and reduce the frequency of motor vehicles passing too close. On roads with speed limits up to and including 30mph or when passing at a speed up to and including 30mph, a 1m minimum is suggested. On roads with higher speed limits, a 1.5m minimum passing distance is suggested. In addition, on narrow roads frequent passing places should be provided.
      It included;
      “In addition, on narrow roads frequent passing places should be provided” and
      “when passing at a speed up to and including 30mph”
      On narrow roads the expectation would be that drivers pass as less than 30 mph, so that the 1m rule would apply. If not sufficient space to pass with 1m clear the driver should wait for a passing place.

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