We should be educating drivers about passing distances

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Summary of the claim

This is a view linked to vehicular cycling theory: that the roads would be fine for cycling, and people would be unafraid to cycle, if drivers better understood what appropriate passing distances are, and acted on this knowledge.

Summary of responses

This is usually brought to life with various administrations around the world issuing guidance, or making it law that when passing someone on a cycle, one must leave a specific minimum distance

There are a number of problems with this, though.

Firstly, safe passing distances vary by the speed of the motor traffic, and its size.
Secondly, such regulation is virtually unenforceable, because not only is it extremely difficult to demonstrate non-compliance, but a typical response will include something like ‘if you’d moved across you would have had that much space’
Finally, countries where lots of people cycle have realised that this is not the reason people don’t cycle: the Dutch and Danes make sure that cycling is separate from motor traffic, usually by physical barriers.