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Minimum distance, maximum respect

Cycling is not just the sport you see on TV. It’s also a means of transportation. Every day, thousands of cyclists set out onto roads and streets of our cities to enjoy free time or just trying to get to the point of destination. We do so knowing that sharing the road with other vehicles can lead to high-risk situations if we do not follow the rules and, above all, if an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding is not the norm.

People who ride bicycles are not just cyclists; they are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, friends and co-workers. And just like any other road users, we have rights and responsibilities, but our form of transportation makes us particularly vulnerable. We have no chassis to protect us, and our best safety system is caution. A collision that would cause a scratch or a simple fender bender in a car, for a cyclist could mean a bruise, a fracture or even death. That’s why it is imperative that we are given special consideration. We are not asking for anything major or unusual, just some respect and keeping a safe distance.

We’re also drivers, so we know that getting behind the wheel comes with its challenges. Traffic jams, busy roads, the pressure to be on time – all of this can be stressful. But we need to remember that the cyclist who’s out training or getting home from work by bike is not to blame. Don’t take your frustrations out on them. How long does it take you to wait to overtake while keeping a safe distance? 10 seconds, 30 seconds at most. Such a small, insignificant figure that can have tragic consequences for a cyclist.

The safety distance when overtaking a cyclist is not a whim, it is a necessity. In many countries, it is recommended to maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 meters when overtaking a cyclist. This distance not only helps prevent collisions, but also protects the cyclist from wind gusts caused by the passing vehicle and from being hit by side mirrors.

But how much exactly is 1.5 meters? Well, it’s a bit more than a broomstick, which is usually around 1.3 meters. The inside of your car from door to door is probably less than 1.5 meters. The width of this IKEA queen size mattress is 150 cm. LeBron James’ wingspan is 2.13 meters. As you can see, 1.5 meters is a lot more than it looks. Which is why it is better to be on the safe side: overdo it, don’t underdo it. If possible, use the opposite lane to overtake.

Apart from the rules and regulations, there can be a wide range of situations on the road in which respect must always prevail. Take conscious decisions, recognizing and valuing the life and safety of all users, regardless of their means of transport. Roads are not exclusive to any one group; they are a shared space that requires mutual cooperation and empathy. Nurturing a culture of respect on the roads is not the responsibility of one party alone. Both cyclists and drivers must be educated about best practices, traffic rules and the importance of maintaining a safe and friendly environment for all. The road is a reflection of our society, and with a joint effort, it can become a place where respect and safety prevail above all else.

6 thoughts on “Minimum distance, maximum respect”

  1. Avatar

    In the USA the recommended distance is one yard–less than a meter. I’m not sure any jurisdictions actually require it but if they did I suspect it would not be enforced so, in the end, we rely on the good intentions and skill of the driver. That’s not very comforting. Teaching drivers in driving school how to approach cyclists would be helpful. I’ve also had drivers tail me all too closely. Drivers (I am one also) just don’t seem to grasp that a collision with a cyclist would have far greater consequences for the rider than a collision with a car would have for the driver. And don’t get me started on trucks with side mirrors that extend well into the bike lanes….

    1. Siroko

      Even with the same law, there are cities and areas in the same country where cyclists feel much less safe. It all depends on the roads, the infrastructure for cyclists, the traffic, if there is a cycling culture… after that there is always bad luck and negligence.

      The more drivers use bicycles, the more respect there is in society. That’s where we have to go. We need to get more people to use bicycles and less people to use cars.

      Thanks for your comment

  2. Avatar

    The small clip conveys a strong message but in way that is too aggressive which exacerbates the rift between the two opposing factions.
    It’s more of the same polarizing comments we see everywhere condensed in the form of a movie.
    It’s time for education and nurturing the culture of respect which is so smartly written in text above.
    Stay safe.

    1. Siroko

      Hello Filipe,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Our intention is not to pit drivers against cyclists, because we know that cyclists are the weaker party and have everything to lose. You are right, education and respect is key, but sometimes, it is necessary to send a crude and direct message to drivers about something that is very simple to put into practice, respecting the minimum distance. Something that we see daily that is not fulfilled and that we suffer it in our lives.


  3. Avatar

    I love my regular 50km cycling Sun ride weekly and NEVER get these problems.

    – but this video shows why Drivers get Annoyed with a single rider Sat in the MIDDLE of the Road!
    – that’s just Selfish as mean for them to give the cyclist space they need to be completely on the other side of the road! – and on long winding country roads that’s Not safe for the driver – so move over!

    1. Siroko

      Hello Shaun,

      Thanks for your comment. Sometimes the middle of the road is the best way to get the attention of drivers and be safe because drivers see you as a vehicle and give you the minimun distance or wait till there is no vehicle in the other way.


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