Give Cycle Space campaign

Every week, four people in Scotland suffer serious injuries from vehicle collisions while cycling, and fear of road traffic is the biggest barrier to more people cycling.

The Give Cycle Space campaign, which runs across television, radio, online and outdoor advertising during May, is for everyone who drives, reminding them why we need to follow the rules of the road and drive safely around people cycling. 

The ad shows someone cycling on the road from a driver’s viewpoint, together with images of their life and loved ones in the space next to them.

Our message is that we’re all people, travelling on the road and wanting to get home safely. Dangerous and careless driving around people on bikes is risking someone’s life and risking serious legal consequences. 

Our research found that:

  • 1 in 4 people are unaware that driving carelessly or dangerously around people cycling can lead to a driving ban or prison sentence
  • 58% of people say that knowing a camera could capture their driving behaviour, would change their behaviour around people cycling.
  • 62% of people say the risk of killing or seriously injuring someone would be most likely to ensure they drive safely around someone on a bike.

The campaign highlights the Highway Code rule about passing people on bikes: when overtaking people on bikes, drivers must leave at least 1.5 metres when driving at speeds of up to 30mph and give more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

Of course, a campaign on its own isn’t enough: we need urgent change including networks of dedicated cycle lanes and enforcement to reduce dangerous driving. Find out more on the priority actions for road safety.

During the campaign, Police Scotland will be running Operation Close Pass, an initiative to educate drivers, across Scotland.

You can access our stakeholder toolkit where you’ll find videos, graphics, and suggested content for social media, newsletters and internal communications.

You’re welcome to also share #GiveCycleSpace posts from our Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, which will run throughout May.

Research shows that in collisions between bikes and vehicles, the person driving the vehicle is more often at fault, and vulnerable road users are at greater risk of injury.

Our first priority should be collision prevention, as the best way to reduce serious casualties

  • Wait at a safe distance until you have space and visibility to pass safely.
  • Don't overtake at blind corners or if there's oncoming traffic.
  • In towns and in slow-moving traffic, consider if there is any benefit to passing, especially if there are lights ahead.
  • Don’t feel pressure from the person in the car behind to pass before it’s safe.
  • Follow the Highway Code and always give at least 1.5 metres of space when driving at speeds of up to 30 mph– this will usually mean crossing into the other lane.
  • When driving at speeds of more than 30mph, give more than 1.5 metres of space

According to the Near Miss Project a person cycling is likely to experience a “very scary” incident once every week, and being passed too closely by a vehicle is an everyday experience for people cycling.

For someone who regularly cycles, every year they can experience an event that is “so frightening that it alone makes them consider giving up cycling.”  

Every week in Scotland, at least four people cycling suffer life-changing injuries from a collision with a vehicle. In most cases, it’s the person driving, not the person cycling, at fault.

The Highway Code says that drivers must give at least 1.5 metres when driving at speeds of up to 30mph, and more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

Read more about real life experiences: Dylan's story, Shgufta's story and Derek's story.