Drivers passing dangerously close to cyclists almost halved in East Lothian pilot project


The results follow changes to the Highway Code that include motorists being advised to leave at least 1.5m when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and more at higher speeds.

The trial of the signs, which highlight the minimum distance, will now be rolled out to other locations before potentially being rolled out across Scotland.

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Results from the initial site on Links Road near Longniddry showed the number of dangerous “closed steps” dropped from 50 percent to 29 percent after the signs were installed last year.

An “extremely dangerous” close pass recorded on Links Road during the trial. Image: Cycling Scotland

The number fell from 434 of 856 overtakes to 56 of 196.

The number of close passes classified as extremely dangerous dropped from 1 percent (six of 856 passes) to zero.

The cameras recorded the distance between passing vehicles and bicyclists before and after the signs were posted.

They were also installed at Strathaven in South Lanarkshire, but insufficient numbers of vehicles overtaking cyclists were recorded to assess their impact.

Cycling Scotland, the official development body that led the project, said too many cyclists were intimidated by motorists passing too close.

Chief Executive Officer Keith Irving said: “The results of this initial road marking pilot project are really positive and we look forward to extending the pilot to several more roads to analyze the results and expand the evidence base on where marking can help road safety. .

“With more people cycling, especially in the last two years, it is more crucial than ever that we improve safety on our roads.

“Every week in Scotland, at least four people are seriously injured while cycling and too many people are intimidated by passing vehicles.

“For Scotland to achieve net zero emissions we need more cycle travel so we need to address safety concerns which are the main barrier.”

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Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland, who took part in the programme, said: “It has always been uncomfortable for me to extol the personal health and environmental benefits that a person on a bicycle could achieve without acknowledging that many of our roads They feel too dangerous.” to share with motor vehicles.

“As we look forward to a network of safe and segregated cycling infrastructure across Scotland, there are many things we can be busy with to help more people understand how their actions can make their fellow riders feel.

“Significant findings from this project suggest that education about safe passing distances could help establish a culture of greater mutual trust and care among road users.”

Duncan Dollimore, campaign manager at lobby group Cycling UK, said: “We know from the results of countless surveys that the perception that the roads are not safe enough drives many people to stop cycling, and being overtaken too closely. while riding a bike is particularly intimidating.

“But this pilot shows that when drivers are reminded of the need to leave more room, their behavior behind the wheel can change.”

Richard Gladman, head of driving and driving standards at the IAM RoadSmart automotive group, said: “Cyclists don’t have a metal safety shell, seat belts and airbags around them, so the onus must lie with the driver to look for the most vulnerable on our roads”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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