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.'s reader-funded journalism won't survive without your help. With over 762,000 views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" who read this website, but, if you want it to keep going, more support is needed from readers like you. Now, back to the article...

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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