Cycling safety: Passing distance signs a ‘UK first’

(From BBC Wales)

  • 9 July 2020
A sign urging motorists to pass cyclists at 1.5m
Image captionThe signs have been installed along popular cycling routes in Snowdonia National Park

Cyclists taking to mountain roads in one part of Wales will see new signs reminding motorists to keep their distance, said to be a first in the UK.

The signs have been installed along popular cycling routes in Snowdonia National Park, Gwynedd council said.

The council hopes the signs, which urge motorists to leave a 1.5m (5ft) gap, can help keep cyclists safe as traffic levels return to pre-lockdown levels.

Cyclist Ann Williams welcomed the signs on roads which could be “dangerous”.

The council said it was “eager to ensure that cyclists continue to get the respect and space they deserve” as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Dylan Jones, Gwynedd Council
Image captionGwynedd council traffic manager Dylan Jones says there is a “very real” conflict between cyclists and motorists in the area

“We feel the message needs to be clear for vehicle drivers,” said Dylan Jones, traffic manager for Gwynedd council.

“The popularity of cycling has increased over the years, but with lockdown we have seen it become even more popular.”

Mr Jones said similar signs are used in European countries.

He added: “The conflict between vehicles and cyclists is a very real one in this area, especially over weekends when masses of cyclists congregate in the area and use the stunning landscape we have got here.

“The signs will be there to reiterate the message that there needs to be a safe distance when passing cyclists.”

The Highway Code says drivers should give cyclists “at least as much room” as they would for a car when overtaking.

The signs have been placed on a number of roads in the in the national park, including at:

  • Llanberis Pass
  • Pen y Gwryd
  • Nant Gwynant
  • Drws y Coed
  • Ogwen Valley
  • Dyffryn Mymbyr

Ms Williams, a member of Dwyfor Cycling Club, said roads in the park could be particularly dangerous during the summer months, as tourists arrive in the area.

Ann Williams
Image captionCyclist Ann Williams hopes the signs will be introduced in other areas of Wales

“Any steps taken to help the safety of cyclists is to be welcomed,” she said.

“And it is encouraging to see Gwynedd council taking the lead with these signs, and hopefully it will be emulated across the country.”

Personally I would like to see the law changed in the Uk, following the line in Spain. If you hit a cyclist, then you are charged with careless driving, if you kill a cyclist then you are charged with manslaughter.

I have cycled in Spain and never once was I threatened by other road users, apart that is from one. A car passed me, realised he gone passed his turnoff he then started reversing back into me. Yes, you guessed it, the car had a GB plate on the back.

When I last looked an average of 200 cyclists are killed on UK roads each year, these road signs although welcome, I fear they will just be ignored by those that do not believe they should be there, wasted money, and now that they are, do not apply to them, much as we see the law on using a mobile phone whilst driving not being enforced.

As for making the wearing of cycling helmets compulsory. I always wore a helmet when out when I lived in England, the city of Bradford was not a cycle friendly place, and it was compulsory to wear one when racing. I personally think that it is a good idea to wear a cycling helmet, to protect you from spills,but not from accidents. Look up the statistics of people attending A&E with head injuries sustained whilst out walking, and you will find they outnumber those of people who have sustained head injury whilst cycling, by a huge margarin. Do you believe we should make it compulsory to wear a helmet whilst out walking?

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