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Renewed called for legal passing distance for motorists overtaking bicycles

A renewed called this week went out for a legal minimum passing distance for motorists overtaking bicycles after collisions with motorists in Kerry and Mayo resulted in the death a woman in her 60s and a man in his 50s.

Campaigners at Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 want a distance of 1.5 metres on rural roads, and 1 metre on urban roads when motorists are passing from the rear.

Ciaran Cannon, a Galway East TD for Fine Gael, told RTE news that the proposed that minimum overtaking distances have proven to work elsewhere and should be introduced in Ireland. He has tabled a private members bill looking to introduce the distances in law.

Here’s the report from RTE:


  1. The argument against this that people seem this have settled on is the one that draws a false equivalence between a bicycle filtering up the inside of stopped or slow moving by bumper to bumper traffic and a car skimming by a cyclist at 80kph.

    “I’ll agree to a safe passing distance when cyclists are banned from filtering. It’s only fair”

    What’s the best way to fight that?

  2. Thanks Eric for raising that false-equivalence. It illustrates that many drivers don’t understand the massive kinetic energy disparities between their motor vehicles with significant mass (>1,000 kg) and velocity (50 km/h being the default urban speed limit) vs a lowly bike weighing approx. 15 kg pootling along at 10 km/h.
    Why do drivers get so irked at riders filtering up on the inside of static traffic at a junction? The stopped car/HGV has zero kinetic energy so filtering along poses little risk to the rider.


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