Drivers face new fines for getting too close to cyclists
New penalties for ‘intimidatory driving’ could be brought in to offer added protection for cyclists and pedestrians.
A government review could lead to a major shake-up of road rules, with drivers receiving fines for violations such as overtaking too close to cyclists and so-called ‘car dooring’.
The Department for Transport initiative comes after figures for 2016 show that 448 pedestrians and 102 cyclists were killed on UK roads – in addition to 8,537 serious injuries.
Among the potential new offences that will be considered by ministers are measures to make bikes the natural choice for shorter journeys.
These include driving too close to cyclists, straying into cycle stop boxes at traffic lights and failure to give cyclists going straight ahead priority at left turns.
Officials will also investigate car dooring – the practice whereby drivers or passengers swing open vehicle doors without due care and attention, hitting passing cyclists.
The DfT has published a ‘call for evidence’ ahead of its review, during which it will decide whether to join several other countries with the introduction of safe ‘passing distances’.
While the Highway Code advises motorists to leave “plenty of room” for cyclists, it is expected the review will lead to the setting of a minimum gap between car and bike.
Another recent DfT safety reform saw the introduction of a graduated licensing scheme for young drivers in a bid to prevent loss of lives.
Among the other issues to be tackled by the review, the topic of compulsory bike helmets is likely to enter the discussion, despite the practice having already been dismissed as counterproductive by campaigners.
The review is expected to collate ideas using evidence from cycling groups by the start of June, with a government response due by the end of August.
In a separate move the government is also to publish legal advice recommending the creation of an offence of ‘death by dangerous cycling’.
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