Warning to motorists to keep safe distance when overtaking cyclists

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Cary Johnston

A campaign is underway by Thames Valley Police and Wokingham Borough Council to warn motorists to keep a safe distance when overtaking bicycles.

During lockdown, thousands of people bought bicycles in a bid to stay healthy. However it means there are now more cyclists on the roads which has led to safety concerns, as drivers struggle to maintain a safe distance.

Pc  Liz Johnson says: "What you should do is give enough space to a cyclist as you would when you overtake a slow-moving vehicle, and that's literally an arm's length."

As part of the campaign of enforcement and awareness, police cyclists went out and about, filming motorist who were failing to stick to the minimum 1.5m passing distance.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

During the campaign, it wasn't long before they filmed a driver passing far too close.

He was later pulled over and given some verbal advice.

Elsewhere, another motorist was also stopped, after overtaking too closely.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Police say they are keen to offer advice rather than more stringent penalties, but warn that persistent offenders will be prosecuted.

Cycling groups say travelling on the roads can be a frightening experience, and that more cycle lanes are needed, as well as a change of behaviour. 

Adrian Betteridge from Wokingham's Active Travel Community Hub says: "Car comes up behind us, has a bit of an issue with cyclists cycling side by side, so he sits behind us and toot toot toot on the horn, and shouts something out the window as he comes past.

"I'm afraid that's an everyday experience."

Though Pc Johnson says that some drivers say cyclists themselves can be somewhat erratic.

She says: "If they're being erratic it might be because there's a pothole they've seen, which they need to go around, which is why you need to leave plenty of space."

More information on the campaign can be found here.