Give Cycle Space campaign

It’s a careless driving offence to close-pass someone cycling and puts lives at risk. You can get points on your driving licence and be fined, or receive a criminal conviction for more serious offences.

Our award-winning Give Cycle Space campaign, supported by Police Scotland, runs on television, radio, online and on bus backs. 

This year's campaign highlights the recently updated 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.

Our research from April 2022 reveals:

  • Nine in ten drivers in Scotland say we should protect people cycling
  • 96% of drivers agree that a vehicle getting too close must be frightening for people cycling
  • 89% of drivers admitted to being frustrated passing someone on a bike at times

These results highlight the importance of cycle lanes separated from vehicle traffic for greater safety and harmony of all road users. While we build this network, we need to educate drivers to give space to people cycling. 

Some key points to remember when passing people on bikes:

  • Always give at least 1.5 metres of space when driving at speeds of up to 30mph – 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.
  • 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.

In March 2019, 73% of people in Scotland didn't know you could get three points on your licence and a £100 fine. We repeated our research in February 2020 and awareness had improved by 9% but there’s still a long way to go to educate people about close passing and to change behaviour.

Every week in Scotland, at least three people cycling suffer life-changing injuries and in most cases, it’s the person driving, not the person cycling, at fault.

Close passes are an everyday experience for people cycling, according to the Near Miss Project every year people who regularly cycle will “experience an event so frightening that it alone makes them consider giving up cycling.”  

With more people cycling, it’s more important than ever that Scotland’s roads are safe for everyone.

Making our roads safer for cycling requires a combined approach of engineering, education and enforcement.  

Our campaign is delivered in partnership with Police Scotland and helps to raise awareness of Operation Close Pass, an initiative to educate drivers.

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