Campaign to cut risk to cyclists on Scotland’s roads

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(l to r) Inspector Andrew Thomson, Cycling Scotland chief executive Keith Irving and Michael Matheson at the launch of the campaign (Lenny Warren/Warren Media/PA)

The majority of motorists are not aware that driving too close to cyclists can result in three penalty points, a survey suggests.

The poll of more than 1,000 Scots found 73% did not know the potential consequence of failing to leave at least a car’s width when passing a bike.

Cycling Scotland, which commissioned the YouGov research, is raising awareness of the risks to cyclists in a new nationwide campaign.

It has received the backing of Police Scotland, which underlined that driving too close – classed as careless driving – is punishable with a minimum penalty of three penalty points and £100 fine.

Cycling Scotland chief executive Keith Irving said: “People who cycle regularly are likely to experience a ‘very scary’ close pass incident every couple of days and cycling casualties are increasing, in line with cycling’s growing popularity.

“Every week in Scotland, at least three people cycling suffer serious, potentially life-changing injuries, usually from a collision with a vehicle.

“Our new TV ad campaign shows how it can feel to be close passed and increases awareness of the legal consequences for people driving too closely to someone cycling.”

Police Scotland has meanwhile launched Operation Close Pass to make roads safer for cyclists.

The initiative sees plain-clothes police officers cycling with a camera on their handlebars and the back of their bike.

When they are passed too closely by a car, the police cyclist radios details to colleagues further up the road, who pull over the motorist and talk to them about their driving.

Inspector Andrew Thomson said: “Keeping all road users safe is a key priority for us and this campaign highlights that cyclists are vulnerable when being passed by vehicles too closely.

“Officers from Police Scotland will be working hard to raise awareness of this offence and encourage all road users to use the roads with respect for others.”

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