Motorists need to always be cautious when driving, not just by paying attention to other vehicles, but by taking in the road conditions and staying alert for pedestrians and cyclists. Nowadays, speeding and using a phone aren’t the only thing you can be fined for.
Driving too close to a cyclist; or endangering the life of a cyclist when driving could cost you a £100 fine and three penalty points.
This law was enacted recently, and some drivers have already been charged fines of over £1,000 for driving too close to cyclists. In a recent report, Wayne Humphreys, 77, received four penalty points and was ordered to pay a fine of over £1,800 for passing a cyclist in Bridgend too closely.
After reviewing the incident footage, Mr Humphreys was given an option to attend a driver awareness course as an alternative to prosecution, he refused to attend the course or respond to the fixed penalty notice claiming the fine was outrageous.
The cyclist recorded the fly-by on a camera and presented it to the road policing teams, when Mr Humphreys failed to comply with the fixed penalty notice of £1,000, he was prosecuted. The Cardiff Magistrates’ Court fined him £1,152, an additional £620 and a £115 victim surcharge.
The court also charged him with driving without due care and attention, so he was ordered to pay £1,887 and received four points on his licence.
Following the close pass and the fines, Humphreys claimed he later measured the road and believed he gave the cyclist sufficient space. While Mr Humphreys left at least 1.2m space, motorists need to leave the safe distance stated in the highway code when overtaking cyclists and slow down when passing horse riders or pedestrians.
The changes to the Highway Code came into effect on 29th January 2022, as a motorist, you are now more likely to get a penalty for putting other road users in harm’s way, especially if the incident is caught on camera. The new Highway Code improved from the previous rule that merely stated a motorist should leave plenty of room when driving close to a cyclist.
The new law aims to protect cyclists from possible collisions caused by vehicles driving too close when overtaking. How close is dangerous? According to experts, the recommended distance is 1.5 metres or 5ft to give cyclists adequate room. If caught on camera within the pass-by distance, you face fines and points of the same value as speeding.
You can also receive penalties for straying into the cycle stop boxes at traffic lights, drivers should also give cyclists priority at left turns to avoid fines. The new regulation is challenging to enforce since judging the minimum set distance is difficult, regardless, motorists must always be careful if overtaking a cyclist at high speed.
The new regulations are there for everyone, including drivers from the motor trade industry, if you get points on your licence for failing to adhere to these rules it could affect your motor trade insurance policy. To avoid fines, keep up to date with the Highway Codes changes and drive carefully.