Drivers reminded to Give Everyone Cycle Space

23 April 2018    

Cycling Scotland has been successfully running Give Everyone Cycle Space for several years.  Having evolved from it's early days as the schools-focussed Give Everyone Cycle Space, this road safety campaign has one simple ask – give everyone cycling, no matter who they are, as much space as you give a car when passing.

The campaign has always performed well, and last year, an important part of the mix was added, the enforcement part. Following successful trails by West Midlands Police of their close pass initiative - Operation Close Pass – Cycling Scotland was contacted by Police Scotland who were keen to run similar operations, first in Edinburgh and then throughout Scotland.  This year Operation Close Pass has been shortlisted for a Scottish Transport Award for “Most Effective Road Safety, Traffic Management and Enforcement Project”.

Last week (the same day that Give Everyone Cycle Space went live), I joined Forth Valley Division’s Road Policing Unit to see Operation Close Pass in action around Stirling and Bridge of Allan. Early on, a driver was pulled over for passing the unmarked cycling officers on the wrong side of a set of central bollards carrying mandatory keep left signs. The driver was directed to a car park where two more officers were on hand with an educational pack and an illustrative mat laying out the minimum safe passing distance.

Another four drivers found themselves in the car park that morning, two of which were largely accepting of the reasons they had been stopped, happy to heed the advice and be on their way. One driver wasn’t so accommodating and reluctantly took a more thorough lesson in the Highway Code.

As Give Everyone Cycle Space kicks off for another year - visible on TV, radio, billboards, buses and petrol forecourts – this comes as a timely reminder to drivers at the point of behaviour.

The operation in Stirling saw a total of five drivers stopped:

  • 2 were educated/warned about driving on the wrong side of keep left bollards to pass the people cycling
  • 2 were educated about sounding of horns at the people cycling
  • 1 was educated about a close pass

Two things stood out from the operation:

  • How receptive (most of) those being pulled over were to talking about best practice around passing people cycling.
  • How important it is to communicate these messages to drivers at the point at which they are passing those traveling by bike. We know that people learn in different ways – some by doing, some by seeing and some by listening. By talking through why people cycling might behave the way the way they do and illustrating best practice from both sides of the coin, coupled with exposure to Give Everyone Cycle Space we will hopefully see a reduction in close passes and safer roads for everyone.

Give Everyone Cycle Space will be running throughout April and May.